Skip to main content

Full text of "The soul of the Russian revolution"

See other formats



President White LfBRARY 
Cornell University 

Cornell University Library 
DK 262.045 

Soul of the Russian revolution 

3 1924 028 378 358 


The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

Russian People in the Grip of Autocracy 

(Reproduced from a magazine of which scarcely twenty copies reached the 















Published November. 1917 



M. R. H, 


This is not a history of revolutionary organizations, 
neither is it a history of revolutionary doctrines, nor a 
mere narrative of political events. The Russian revolu- 
tion is more than the activities of revolutionary factions 
trying to apply their theories to political reality; it is 
more than a change in the forms of government or in 
the civic rights of the people. The Russian revolution 
is the awakening to self-consciousness of a great nation 
shaken to its very foundations; it is the groping of vast 
masses towards a new social, political and spiritual free- 
dom far exceeding that contained in revolutionary pro- 
grams. In this enormous movement of millions, revolu- 
tionary organizations are only vanguards, sometimes 
erring and misleading, sometimes lost in the maze of 
historic events; revolutionary doctrines are often feeble 
sparks vainly attempting to illuminate the windings of 
the historic road; the very victories and achievements of 
a political character appear to be only by-products of 
the gigantic mass-movement towards an unknown goal. 
To show the Russian nation in action from the very 
beginnings of mass-movement to the point of abolition 
of the old political regime; to trace the influence of 
economic conditions on the character and demeanor of 
the various social classes and groups; to point out the 
role of revolutionary organizations and revolutionary 
ideas in that momentous outburst of revolutionary power; 
to go back from the turmoil of political and social move- 
ments to the inner self of revolutionary individuals fairly 
representing their respective groups, and thus to gain a 
better understanding of the motives of the immense up- 


heaval, was the task which the author attempted to 


The task is colossal. Scientific and artistic work of 
generations will be required to complete it. Not even in 
the Russian language have the various phases of the revo- 
lution been given adequate study. Many a field, such as 
the reflection of the revolution in Russian belles lettres, 
to which parts of this book are devoted, have not 
hitherto been investigated at all. Moreover, the work 
of a Russian writing in English is greatly embarrassed 
by the consciousness of the fact that the Russian char- 
acter and Russian history are little familiar on this side 
of the Atlantic. Under such circumstances, the present 
work can be only a review of the great movement 
in its most significant manifestations, and an attempt to 
convey to the American reader a better understanding 
of the character, the motives and the aspirations of the 
various parts of the Russian nation engaged in the 

In conclusion, I wish to express my deep gratitude to 
Professor Vladimir G. Simkhovitch for his suggestions 
and advice in connection with this work, and also for his 
aid in selecting the illustrations, most of which are repro- 
duced from rare magazines in his private collection. 

M. J. O. 

New York, 

October z6, 1917. 


When we are reading about our own political affairs, 
a simple narrative of events may under circumstances 
suffice, for with the social and historical background, 
with the ideas, peculiarities, predilections, interests, pur- 
poses and hopes of the various sections and groups and 
classes of our own country we are presumably quite 
familiar. To the simple story of events we add our own 
knowledge of the background, we unconsciously supply 
the social psychology that is behind the events and which 
make these events intelligible to us. 

Quite different is the situation when we are dealing 
with social and political events of a distant land, the 
social background of which we know anything but 
intimately. The mere narrative of the events, no matter 
how accurate, does not supply us with the means of 
understanding them. That is precisely the situation in 
which the English-reading world finds itself in regard 
to the Russian revolutionary movement. There are books 
that more or less accurately tell us the story of the Rus- 
sian revolutionary movement; there are books that make 
an attempt to acquaint us with the various revolutionary 
theories. But the theories as well as the events are 
and remain uninterpreted, they are to be believed in as 
accurate statements but not to be understood as products 
of life. Nor is it exactly easy to analyze events and 
theories and present them as a part of the actual flow of 

It was a task to be undertaken, if the English-reading 
world was really to appreciate the struggles of Revolu- 





I Industry 3 

II Labor . . n 

III Rural Russia 25 

IV The Revolting Peasant 37 

V " Intelligencia " 44 

VI Absolutism in Theory c6 

711 Absolutism in Practice 69 


VIII The Prologue 85 

IX Under the Shadow of War 94 

X The First Act; January 9 103 

XI The Chorus of Many Voices n6 

XII The Chorus of Many Voices {^Continued) . . .125 

XIII The Second Act: October 17 134 

XIV The Vanquished King 144 

XV The Third Act: Burning Moscow 157 

XVI The Fourth Act: the Imperial Duma . . . .169 

XVII The Fifth Act: Coup d'etat i8o 


XVIII " I Am Your Tzar and God " 194 

XIX Three Wagon-Loads of Rods 206 

XX The Administrator Under Fire 215 

XXI Ivan Ermolayevitch the Typical Peasant .... 227 

XXII " In the Grip of the Land " 238 

XXIII "The Burning Forest" 249 

XXIV Tragic Attacks . . 260 


XI 1 




XXV "Climbing Up" 273 

XXVI The Suburb 282 

XXVII The Elite of the Working-class 292 

XXVIII In Search of Immaterial Values 307 

XXIX " Professional Revolutionists " 321 

XXX Terrorists 335 

XXXI Prison and Exile 346 

MARCH, 1917 

XXXII "Vae Victis" 359 

XXXIII The Revival . 373 

XXXIV In and Around the Duma 384 

XXXV The Rising Storm 392 

XXXVI The Great Event: a Freed Nation 400 

Appendix .... 413 

Index 419 

I verst IS approximately 0.66 mile 

I dessatin 


2.70 acres 

I pood 


36.11 pounds 

I ruble 


50 cents 

I copeck 


0.5 cent 

Dates are quoted in this book according to the Russian calendar, 
which is 13 days behind the accepted European calendar. Many 
dates have become historic and are deeply embedded in the Rus- 
sian mind. January 9th and October 17th, for example, would 
lose their charm for the Russian ear if they were quoted as 
January 22nd and October 30th. 

Of the twenty-six illustrations in this book, seventeen are repro- 
ductions from revolutionary magazines which appeared immedi- 
ately after the revolution of 1905 and were in most cases sup- 
pressed by the censor. The artists usually withheld their names 
for fear of prosecution. These magazines are now very rare; less 
than a dozen copies exist of some of them. 

The other illustrations are reproduced from paintings, photo- 
graphs, and drawings widely circulated in Russia. 

V, Vu 


Russian people in the grip of autocracy Frontispiece 


A street in a province capital 8 

A river-wharf in a provincial town 8 

A Russian landscape 26 

A landlord's mansion 26 

Spring 42 

Spirit of Pobedonostzev 62 

G. Gapon on January 9th 106 

" His Proletarian Majesty, the Workingman of all the Russias " . 144 

Council of workmen's deputies in Petrograd 148 

Quelling the Moscow rebellion 158 

Along the route of the punitive expedition 164 

S. A. Muromtzev 174 

Pogrom 178 

Interpellation in the Imperial Duma 184 

Punitive expedition approaching a village ...... 212 

"Holy Russia" 248 

"Away with the landlords!" 266 

The workingman who reads indulges in a dangerous occupation . 282 

Prison 34^ 

The great road to Siberia 354 

The Vale of Mourning 360 

Famine is coming! 368 

A Meeting of the Black Hundred 372 

Revolutionists destroying a prison 400 

Revolutionary soldiers in Petrograd 406 


:.'■•.//: ,■ ' ■. -. 



Entering a large Russian city twenty years ago, the 
traveler would have been amazed by its incongruities. 
He would have seen beautiful modern apartment-houses 
looming above dilapidated one-story frame structures 
half sunken into the ground. He would have ridden in 
comfortable electric street-cars through unpaved suburbs 
full of mud and foul puddles. He would have met in 
the main streets elegant ladies and gentlemen dressed 
after the latest Parisian fashion, side by side with bare- 
footed peasants, men and women, wearing winter and 
summer alike their heavy sheepskin coats. He would 
have stayed in a luxurious hotel equipped with all modern 
improvements, and he would soon have learned that the 
city had neither a water nor a sewage system. He would 
have been able to send a telegram to Paris or London or 
a cable to San Francisco, but he could not have com- 
municated with a nearby town. The telegraph station or 
the post-office would have been lacking. 

Upon further observation, the traveler would have be- 
come aware that these incongruities were a characteristic 
feature of all Russian life. He would have found enor- 
mous steel-plants or paper-mills or cotton-factories in 
the vicinity of little villages where life was still un- 
touched by civilization and ancient patriarchal habits 
cast their shadows over the minds of men. Railroad 
tracks were running over endless fields where century- 
old obsolete methods of agriculture were still being ap- 
plied. The throb of far-off worlds was reaching half- 



barbarous villagers, 80 per cent, of whom could not 

read or write. 

It was the time when Russia was changing rapidly, 
strenuously, almost feverishly. A new, powerful ruler 
was striding in seven-league boots over the vast plains of 
the Empire, shaking people from their indolent dreams, 
destroying ancient bonds, creating new life in quiet cor- 
ners, stirring, encouraging, luring. It was the spirit of 
Capitalism. It was the new industrial development des- 
tined to break the walls between Russia and the Western 
world and to do away with old idols. 

The center of social gravity was moving from rural 
Russia into the towns, from the mansions of the cultured 
nobility to the industrial centers. The urban population 
was growing very quickly, especially in the West and the 
South. The city of Ekaterinoslav, in 1867, had a popu- 
lation of 19,908; thirty years later the population was 
121,216. In 1867 the population of Lodz was 32,437; 
in 1897 it grew to 315,209, an increase of 872 per cent. 
Baku counted in 1867 13,992 inhabitants; in 1897 the 
number increased to 112,253. Some cities grew on a 
truly American scale. Ivanovo-Vosnesensk was in 1867 
a small town with a population of 1,350; after becoming 
a center of the textile industry it counted, in 1897, 53,949, 
an increase of over 3,896 per cent. The total number 
of cities with a population of 50,000 to 100,000 was, in 
1867, twelve; in 1897, thirty-seven; the population of 
this class of cities grew from 834,000 to 2,401,000 
(Table i). 

Rural Russia was migrating from the village to the 
large city because the latter offered more opportunities 
for making a living. Industry and commerce were in- 
creasing by leaps and bounds. ** The industrial spirit 
penetrated all classes of the population in Southern 
Russia," states the official Finance-Courier in 1897. 
'^ All other interests became of secondary importance. 
The growth of industry is marked not by decades, but 


by periods of two to three years. In the last two years 
the industrial aspect of Southern Russia has completely 

Iron and steel are the backbone of the industrial system 
all over the world. The growth of the iron and steel 
industry in Russia indicated a vigorous development of 
the entire industrial body. Between 1850 and 1877 the 
yearly increase in the production of cast-iron amounted to 
only 6,500 tons; between 1887 and 1897 ^he increase 
averaged 125,000 tons yearly. The tempo of the steel 
and iron output between 1887 and 1898 can be seen from 
the following table. 

Total Production of Iron and Steel in Russia 



Steel (in ready products) 



Value in 


Value in 


Value in 








1. 1 45 .000 

156,742 000 

The value of the cast-iron produced in 1898 was nearly 
3.75 times greater than the value of the yield of 1887. 
The value of steel-products manufactured in Russia in- 
creased more than seven times. The construction of 
machines made considerable headway during those years. 
Russia began to manufacture steam-boilers, steam-engines, 
turbines, kerosene-motors, weaving-looms, apparatuses 
and machines for flour-mills, sugar-works, distilleries and 
breweries. The construction of dynamo-electric machines, 
electric motors and telegraph devices was also making 
rapid progress. 

The main consumers of iron- and steel-products were 
the railroads. Nothing so much as the construction of 
railroads marked the transition from the old " natural 
state " into a new era of enterprise and swift changes. 
At that time one could hardly speak of a railway-system 
or a railway-net in Russia. Solitary lines were slowly 


advancing into dreamy regions where hitherto nobody 
was in a hurry and where the old proverb ran, '' Work is 
not a wolf, it won't escape into the woods.'' But the hnes 
did advance, incessantly, persistently, with fatal tenacity. 
The last decade of the nineteenth century especially was 
astir with the spirit of railway-construction. 

New Lines Built in Ru ssia 1892-1901 

Years Versts 

1892 453 

1893 1,584 

1894 1,825 

1895 1,886 

1896 2,801 

1897 1,937 

1898 2,892 

1899 4,914 

1900 2,756 

1901 3,338 

The mileage of the Russian railways doubled between 
1890 and 1897. The number of locomotives and passen- 
ger and freight cars increased accordingly. Water- 
transportation was also steadily developing. Between 
1890 and 1895, 7^5 steamships for river-navigation 
were built; between 1896 and 1899, 631. *' All this, 
coupled with the accelerated construction of the navy, 
created a large demand for products of the iron-industry, 
which fact, in its turn, reflected upon the mining of iron- 
ore and coal. A speedy construction of new plants, new 
blast-furnaces, an enlargement of the old, began. The 
lumber business, the production of bricks, cement, glass, 
rapidly developed. On the other hand, the oil-industry, 
growing fast and supplying not only the internal market, 
but also an increasing demand abroad, caused a greater 
expansion of the building trade. Oil-wells, oil-plants were 
being constructed; a large flotilla of oil-carriers was built 
on the Caspian Sea; numerous carriers appeared on the 
Volga. Mechanical and chemical plants supplying the 
oil-industry were being enlarged or built anew. The 
growth of the cities, especially in the South, necessitated 


a feverish construction of new houses and reconstruction 
of the old; tramways were being laid, telephones and 
electric light installed, water and sewage systems con- 
structed. The expansion of the building trade hastened 
the development of means of production. At the same 
time, the production of consumers' goods was making 
progress.*' * 

The ** black diamond " was driving its triumphal 
chariot over a country covered with immense stretches of 
forest. Here are a few figures showing the increase in 
the moving of coal. 

Coal Extracted in Russia 



Value in Rubles 






AWyU«...>. .(•• • »• 

The average yearly increase in the production of coal 
between 1855 and 1877 was about 74,000 tons; between 
1887 and 1897 ^t was 667,000. But this expansion could 
not satisfy the increasing demand for coal, and the Import 
was growing. In 1887, 1,638,000 tons of coal were im- 
ported into Russia, in 1897 the import amounted to 
2,719,000 tons, being somewhat less than 25 per cent, 
of the coal extracted from the Russian mines. 

A similar development marked the oil-industry. 

Oil Produced in Russia 



Value in Rubles 






Turning to the textile-industry we find there also a con- 
siderable advance, especially In the production of cotton- 
goods. Between 1887 and 1897 the output of cotton- 
goods In Russia Increased from 231.7 millions to 430.2 
millions of rubles. The quantity of cotton-goods also 

* A. Finn-Yenotayevski, Economic Life of Modern Russia^ pp. 49-5o« 



shows a great improvement. The Russian spinneries arc 
now able to produce fine threads of a high grade, also for 
sewing, and they compete successfully with English manu- 
facturers. Russia has even begun to export cotton-goods 
to her Asiatic neighbors. But the main market for such 
goods is rural Russia, where the peasant swiftly changes 
his picturesque crude wool and linen for the cheap fustian 

and calico. 

Reviewing all branches of Russian industry and mining 
(Table 2), we can form an opinion as to the changes 
which the country was undergoing towards the end of the 
nineteenth century. In 1887 the total production of 
Russian industry and mining was 1.3 billions of rubles, 
in 1897 it was 2.8 billions. The average yearly increase 
between 1887 and 1890 was 56 millions, between 1893 
and 1897, 276 millions of rubles. This may not appear 
very large in comparison with England or America, but 
for Russia it was an unheard-of progress. Those were 
revolutionary times in Russian economic life. A wave 
of energy, a spirit of bold adventure was abroad. Capital 
hurried from Germany, Belgium and other countries to 
share in the high profits. In the metallurgic industry, 
profits of 100 per cent, were not unusual. Stock com- 
panies oftentimes paid as much as 20 per cent, in divi- 
dends. Promoters were active everywhere, from the 
somber northern Petersburg to the hot sun-kissed Odessa. 
The development of this form of enterprise can be seen 
from the following table. 

Stock Companies in Russia 


Number of New Companies 

Capital Stock' 
(in Millions of Rubles) 


















*»*y / * 



'■"yy • 

A River-wharf in a Provincial Town 

A Street in a Province Capital 


In 1900, the total number of stock companies, ex- 
cluding railroads, was 1,700, with a capital stock of 2.1 
billions of rubles; 1,450 of those companies were en- 
gaged in industrial enterprises, and 250 in commerce, 
banking, insurance and transportation. 

Now, let us interrupt our survey of the economic de- 
velopments, — a survey necessarily brief and incomplete, — 
and ask ourselves what all this meant for the social 
structure of the Russian people. " Industry,*' ** Mining,*' 
** Commerce,'* ** Banking," — these are not mere abstrac- 
tions. They are activities of men. They create relations 
between human beings. They influence character and 
human ideas. They are forces modeling and reshaping 

The advent of Capitalism in Russia meant the appear- 
ance of new social groups. The modern captain of in- 
dustry, the modern financier, the company-promoter, the 
railroad-magnate began to play an ever increasing role 
in Russian life. Factories and mills needed engineers, 
mechanics, managers, clerks and hosts of other profes- 
sional people massing in the cities. In commerce, the 
new trader, efficient in business-methods, looking for 
large markets, established himself firmly. All these 
groups breathed a spirit of self-assurance and self- 
reliance unknown to the business-man of former genera- 
tions. The merchant or factory-owner of yore was a very 
humble creature. He willingly admitted the supremacy 
of the landed class and the bureaucracy. The new capi- 
talistic man of affairs thinks himself and his class the salt 
of the earth. Class-consciousness begins to unite the in- 
dividuals of the various capitalistic groups. The modern 
business-man considers himself by no means less impor- 
tant than the owner of land. The splendor of millions 
is perhaps brighter in his eyes than the radiance of an 
ancient title. The administrative machine, in his opinion, 
is not an end in itself, but only a means of securing law 
and order indispensable for economic growth. The 


business-man is inclined to think that he is the main figure 
in life. He amasses wealth; he creates opportunities for 
millions; he raises a country to a higher level among 
nations. He has to be helped and honored and en- 

With the appearance of new social groups, Russia 
becomes less provincial. The large business-man thinks in 
national terms. The barometer of the stock-exchange 
in Petersburg or Moscow is keenly felt In the Caucasus, 
in Crimea, on the slopes of the Ural. The political 
issues, internal and International, causing the oscillations 
of the barometer, are by no means an Indifferent matter. 
The business-man thinks of the whole country as his 
market, his actual or prospective domain. In this he is 
far superior to the landlord, who is necessarily attached 
to one spot and whose horizon is limited. 

It was inevitable that sooner or later the Industrial 
classes would clash with the archaic political order. In- 
dustry was growing, expanding. Industry needed 
" room! room to turn round In, to breathe and be free." 
And this room it could not always have under the 
old regime. Industry wanted affairs to run smoothly, 
and this It was denied under the rule of a rigid bureau- 
cratic machine. 

Here Is one of the causes of the Great Revolution. 



In the folds of the new economic organization a new 
class was forming, steadily gaining in scope and purpose ; 
and as a body is followed by its shadow, the growth of 
this class was followed by disturbance and social unrest. 
This was the class of industrial workmen. In former 
decades, the factory workman of Russia was half wage- 
earner and half independent peasant, tied to his piece 
of land and the village of his fathers. The new era saw 
large numbers of wage-earners entirely disconnected from 
the land, living in cities and relying wholly upon indus- 
trial labor. Some of them were still in the habit of 
leaving their factories in summer-time and going into the 
country to work on farms. But this was only a way of 
changing one kind of hired labor for another. In the 
main, the workmen looked upon themselves as city folk, 
they acquired city habits and felt a certain contempt for 
the crude, uncouth peasant. 

According to the census of 1897, the number of work- 
men engaged in industry, mining and transportation was 
3,000,000 (Table 3). In the few following years this 
number considerably increased. The concentration of 
labor in industry was going on very fast. In 1890 there 
were only 108 factories in Russia employing 1,000 work- 
men or more, with a total number of 226,200 workmen; 
in 1902 the number of factories of this class was 261 
and the number of workmen 626,500 (Table 4). Mon- 
ster plants with 10,000 workmen are now not unusual in 
Russia. Such were the steel-plants of Hughes, Pastuchov 
and others in the Donetz region, and some of the textile 
manufactories. In 1879 there was only one textile manu- 



factory with over 5,000 workmen; in 1894 the number of 
such manufactories was eight (Table 5). 

In Petersburg, Moscow, Yekaterinoslav, Ivanovo- 
Vosnesensk, Lodz, the new type of skilled laborer had 
become an essential part of the city population. His 
needs were far above the needs of the primitive peasant 
His views were greatly influenced by the spirit of modern 
cities. He was striving towards a better standard of 
living. He had now self-respect — perhaps his greatest 
achievement. He knew how to read and write — or was 
quickly learning. He had a desire for better clothes and 
a " decent " appearance. He wished to spend his leisure 
hours in clean and healthy surroundings. But all this was 
in crass contrast to the conditions of his work, and the 
pay he received was a mockery of his dreams of a re- 
spectable life. 

Data collected by the factory-inspectors in 1900-1901 
concerning 1,275,102 workers in 12,702 industrial enter- 
prises, give the average earnings of a male adult worker as 
242 rubles a year, or 20 rubles a month, — scarcely $2.50 
a week. These data show that even the aristocracy of 
the working-class, the metal-workers and the constructors 
of machinery, received not more than 342 rubles a year, 
or $3.30 a week, while at the bottom of the scale we 
find nearly 600,000 workers in the textile industry re- 
ceiving from 140 to 180 rubles a year, or from $1.35 
to $1.73 a week (Table 6). But even these workers 
were not the worst off. The reports of the factory- 
inspectors contain instances of girls working in cigarette- 
case factories for two to four rubles a month, or in 
tobacco-factories for 2.5 rubles a month. The wages 
of a cigarette maker, according to these reports, never 
exceeded nine rubles a month, or $1.10 a week. 

This was the economic foundation of the life of the 
worker. If we turn now to his legal position, we find 
no brighter picture. Collective bargaining was forbidden 
by law. Strikes were criminal acts. Participation in a 




strike was punishable by two to four months' imprison- 
ment; agitation in favor of a strike by a double term. 
Individual breach of contract on the side of the workman 
was punishable by one month's imprisonment, while the 
employer breaking contract with his employee was only 
fined. The law of June 2, 1897, limited the work-day 
for male adults to 11.5 hours, but overtime was per- 
mitted, the law was actually in abeyance, and the usual 
work-day was twelve hours, if not more. The employees 
had the right to complain to the factory-inspectors. Such 
complaints, however, were of no avail, the inspectors 
being bureaucratic officials who paid very little attention 
to the workmen, the latter being in no position to back 
up their demands by a representative organization. Be- 
sides, individual complaints were extremely risky, the 
complainer usually losing his job and having little hope 
of getting another. 

Life in the factories was appalling. Sanitary condi- 
tions were very primitive, to say the least. Legally, the 
employer was obliged to provide his employees with 
medical aid, which was of special importance in factories 
situated outside of cities. The reports for 1899, how- 
ever, show that, out of 19,292 factories under the con- 
trol of the factory-inspection, 15,804 had no arrange- 
ments for medical aid whatsoever, while the remaining 
3,488 which employed nurses or physicians seldom gave 
their workmen really adequate and efficient medical aid. 
As to health-insurance or special workmen-compensation 
laws, they were totally unknown in Russia. 

If the legal status of the workers was bad, their prac- 
tical condition was worse. There was something of the 
spirit of slavery in the Russian factory of that time. The 
writer of these lines had an opportunity to study the life 
of several paper-mills, porcelain-manufactories, sugar- 
refineries and glass-works in the Southwest twenty years 
ago. The general attitude of the employer towards his 
employees in those factories was that of a benefactor 


extending his charity to the poor. The workmen were 
treated like so many beggars who must be grateful for 
whatever they got. The tone of the factory administra- 
tion was harsh, coarse, insulting. Slapping a workman*s 
face was by no means a rare occurrence ; and it was the 
common practice to search the workers, men and women 
alike, on leaving the factory-premises, though this was 
strictly forbidden by law. The laws were not much of 
a hindrance to the employers of that time. The local 
police and local authorities were, as a rule, on the best 
terms with the factory-owners and in no hurry to enforce 
unpleasant laws. 

Of course, one thing must be borne in mind: the cost 
of living was comparatively low and the requirements 
of the Russian working population were by no means 
equal to those of English or American workingmen. But 
even from the standpoint of a Russian wage-earner, the 
situation was quite intolerable. In 1900, there were 715,- 
497 miners in Russia, according to official figures. In 
none of the mines was the work-day less than twelve 
hours, and the sanitary conditions were more than un- 
satisfactory. No proper ventilation, no regular water 
pumping, no arrangements for drying the clothes of the 
workmen were provided. Wet to the bone, suffocating 
from the smoke of the kerosene lamps and the under- 
ground gases, the miners toiled for a miserable wage. 
Safety devices were very rare. In many Ural mines not 
even elevators were used, the workers being compelled 
to climb ladders. As to the barracks, where the miners 
spent their free hours, they hardly deserved the name 
of human habitations. 

"Damned be the life of miners! 
Day and night we toil and suffer, 
Just as criminals in prison. 
Day and night the candle smoulders 
And we carry death on shoulders," — 

this is part of a song widely spread among the Southern 


Factories outside cities, and even factories situated in 
populous towns, had special barracks constructed for the 
workmen. The writer of these lines visited, in 1903, 
the barracks of the Nobel Brothers' Oil Plant in Baku, 
Caucasus. The manager of the plant was proud of the 
barracks, their cleanliness and their order. In reality, 
the inside of the barracks was a depressing sight. 
Gloomy rooms with low ceilings ; wooden benches instead 
of beds; barren gray walls covered with soot from the 
smoky kerosene lamps ; stale air, dirty floors, filthy little 
pillows on the benches, and the intolerable odor of sweat 
and unclean lavatories, — of such were the " model bar- 
racks '' of a large modern plant. In many instances the 
conditions were still worse. 

*' The sanitary and hygienic conditions of the Russian 
factories are horrible," says Professor Tugan-Bara- 
novski. ** Only a few factories have dormitories for their 
workmen, and what kind of dormitories! Men, women 
and children sleep side by side on wooden benches, in 
damp, sultry and crowded barracks, sometimes in cellars, 
often in rooms without windows. Most of the factories 
have no dormitories at all. After a work-day of twelve, 
thirteen or fourteen hours, the workmen lie down to sleep 
in the workshop itself, on stands, bench-boards, or tables, 
putting some rags under their heads. This is often the 
case even in shops where dyes and chemicals are used that 
impair the workmen's health even in work-time." * 

The workmen living in barracks or in the workshops 
were more dependent on their employers than those who 
could afford separate rooms or flats. They usually re- 
ceived their wages in kind, from the grocery and the 
butcher-shop belonging to the employer. If they were 
disagreeable to their masters they could easily be thrown 
out of their dwelling-places. 

But even those who lived outside of the factory- 
grounds were far from possessing a minimum of comfort. 

*M. Tugan-Baranovski, Russian Factory, 3d edition, p. 407. 


In 1899 the city administration of Moscow collected 
data about 15,922 flats in the industrial quarters of the 
town, which rented rooms or parts of rooms to sub- 
tenants. The population of these flats amounted to 174,. 
622, or eleven per flat, while 12,650 of the " flats " con- 
sisted of one room only! The tenants rented " stalls," 
i.e., portions of rooms separated by partitions which did 
not reach the ceiling; they rented corners, single beds and 
all available space. The average rent for a " stall " was 
5 rubles, 93 copecks a month; the average rent for a 
bed, 2 rubles, 22 copecks. The remarks of the investi- 
gators give us vivid pictures of these flats. ** The air 
is hot and stale," we read in one account, ** the rooms 
incredibly crowded. The flat is damp and exceedingly 
dirty. Two rooms are totally dark. The ceiling is very 
low; a tall man can hardly stand upright. The odor is 
foul." . . . " The sight of the flat is horrifying," states 
another investigator; "the plaster has crumbled down, 
the walls are full of holes and stuffed with rags. Every- 
thing is filthy. The stove is a mere ruin. There are 
legions of cockroaches and bed-bugs. It is cold. The 
lavatory is in a dangerous position, and children are not 
permitted to go there. All the flats of the house are in 
a similar condition." . . . ** The atmosphere is suffo- 
cating," remarks a third investigator. " The exhalations 
of the people, the evaporations of wet clothes and dirty 
linen fill the air. The walls are wet; cold draughts blow 
from everywhere. When it is raining, the water covers 
the floors, two inches deep." * 

In these flats there lived, not tramps, not pariahs, not 
beggars, but people with a steady occupation, renting 
their abodes for a certain time and anxious to have their 
private corner. These flats were occupied by factory- 
workers, artisans and their apprentices, cabmen, com- 
mon laborers, petty merchants, salespeople, domestic 

* Bulletin of the Moscoiv City Council, Oct., 1902. Cited by Pashitnov, 
The Working-Class in Russia, pp. 127-130. 


servants, railroad-clerks and the families of all these peo- 
ple. No, there were no idlers in the crowded tenement 
houses. They gave shelter to an able, vigorous working- 
population, ready to toil in the sweat of their brow and 
dreaming of a comfortable, ** decent '' life. 

But could their dreams come true with an average of 
20 rubles a month in wages and 5 rubles, 93 copecks in 
rent for a dark '* stall "? 

The industrial workmen were full of unrest. 

In spite of legal penalties, in spite of severe prosecu- 
tions, the workingmen often revolted. Sometimes their 
revolt took the form of savage mob outbursts. The 
rioters smashed the windows of their factory, or put the 
hated foreman on a push-cart and carried him, with yells 
and shouts, outside of the factory-gate. Sometimes they 
would go so far as to damage the machinery. But these 
were comparatively rare occurrences. The usual expres- 
sion of dissatisfaction was a peaceful strike. 

It may be doubted whether political freedom and a 
right of organization would have radically changed the 
position of the workmen. Their low standard was mainly 
due to the backward condition of the country, to unde- 
veloped industry, to the primitiveness of the life of the 
rural districts where the industrial workmen were re- 
cruited. It may further be doubted whether the work- 
ingmen in the 'nineties had a clear idea as to the relation 
between their position and the political order of the 
country. But there is no doubt that the workmen were 
dissatisfied, that they did go on strike time and again, 
and that these strikes, unorganized as they were, were a 
source of bitter annoyance to the Russian administration. 

It was as a result of these strikes that labor laws were 
often introduced and the government tried to limit the 
arbitrary power of the employers. In 1886 there were 
strikes in the provinces of Moscow and Vladimir. The 
Minister of the Interior, Count Tolstoi, took the initia- 
tive of regulating contract-relations between employers 


and employees. In a memorandum addressed to the 
Minister of Finance he says, '' Investigations by the local 
administration of the causes of the aforesaid labor strikes 
disclosed that they threatened to assume the character of 
serious disturbances and that they were due primarily to 
the lack in our legislation of general regulations as to the 
mutual relations between employers and workmen. This 
gap in our legislation, which results in a lack of uni- 
formity in the rules of the various factories, enables the 
employers to issue arbitrary regulations detrimental to 
the workmen, and puts the latter in a very unfavorable 

The '' gap '' was filled in by the regulations of June 
3, 1886, fixing the order of concluding and dissolving a 
contract, prohibiting payment in kind, fixing pay-days, 
etc. But the laws were not enforced, and the workmen 
had no way of offering resistance. They resorted to 

In 1896 a great wave of strikes swept Petersburg. 
The largest textile manufactories, employing over 30,000 
workmen, stopped. The strike was, to a certain extent, 
organized. One hundred strike leaders, meeting secretly, 
formulated demands which were presented to the em- 
ployers. The strike was lost after three weeks, but the 
government became very restless. The workmen of 
Petersburg and other industrial centers were now more 
self-assured and self-reliant. They saw their power and 
began to appreciate concerted action. They were now 
more willing to listen to the propaganda of the Social- 
Democratic agitators, groups and circles of whom had 
been busy in Russia ever since the 'eighties. In 1897 the 
various groups united under the name of the Russian 
Social Democratic Labor Party, which issued large quan- 
tities of secret literature and steadily gained influence 
over the workers. 

This combination of the Labor movement with the 
Social-Democratic propaganda, was very distasteful to 


the administration. On June 2, 1897, '^^ issued a new- 
law limiting the work-day to 11.5 hours, yet the prosecu- 
tion for strikes increased. The intention of the ad- 
ministration was to appear before the workmen in 
the role of a protector against the exploitation of the 
employers. But it was very difficult to play a role of 
this kind while remaining on good terms with the em- 
ployers and discouraging any attempt at organization on 
the part of the employees. The new law did not abate 
the unrest of the workmen. 

On June 10, 1903, the government allowed the work- 
men to have factory representatives of their own, called 
" monitors,'^ to deal with the employers. The motives 
of this new law are made clear in the report of the Im- 
perial Council for 1902-03. ** The workingmen,'' it 
states, *' having no right of combined action, found that 
there was no legal way to express their common needs. 
It is only natural, therefore, that when peace is disturbed 
owing to these needs, such as the scale of wages or the 
length of work-day, the more turbulent personages usually 
step to the front, and political agitation uses this circum- 
stance for its own purpose. In view of these facts, the 
Ministry of Finance has decided to establish a representa- 
tion of the workers in the person of special monitors." 

This representation, however, was made dependent 
upon the consent of the employer. The workmen were 
allowed to elect monitors only in factories where the em- 
ployers were not opposed to such representation. The 
monitor could be discharged just as easily as any of his 
constituency, and meetings or unions of workmen were 
still tabooed, perhaps more so than in previous years. 

The government tried to appease the workmen, but its 
measures were all half-hearted and could never gain the 
confidence of labor. The measures looked very imposing 
— on paper; in some respects the labor legislation of 
Russia was even more advanced than that of Western 
Europe — in the statute books. The workmen, however, 


knew very little of statute books, and they knew very 
well the actual situation. And the situation was that of 
freedom for the employer and fierce restrictions for the 

There was no peace in the industrial quarters. In the 
meantime the Socialists were incessantly doing their 
underground work, coming in close contact with an in- 
creasing number of workmen, organizing revolutionary 
circles, calling sceret meetings, spreading leaflets and 
proclamations and over and over again using the con- 
crete conditions of the shops as a starting-point for the 
development of their abstract ideas. The secret police 
was very active, but repressive measures alone could not 
stop the agitation. 

As early as 1898, a Russian administrator struck upon 
a splendid idea. Why not try to divert the economic 
movement of the workmen from political channels? Why 
not try to compete with the revolutionary groups in organ- 
izing labor on the basis of everyday needs? 

It was Trepov, chief of police in Moscow, who on 
April 8, 1898, in a memorandum presented to the head 
of the Police Department, called attention to the grow- 
ing influence of the Social-Democrats among the work- 
men. This was possible, he stated, only because the 
Social-Democrats touched the most vital points in the 
life of labor, — the immediate needs and requirement. 
" Should not the government," he asks, ** wrest this very 
effective weapon from the hands of the revolutionists and 
take upon itself the accomplishment of the same task? 
So long as the revolutionist preaches pure Socialism, we 
can cope with him through repressive measures; when be 
begins, however, to make use of the small defects in the 
existing legal order, repressive measures alone are not 
sufficient; the very ground on which he stands must be 
torn from under his feet.'' * 

What had to be done? The government, through its 

*V. Svyatlovski, The Labor Movement in Russia, p. 75. 


secret agents, had to approach the laboring masses and 
organize them in loyal groups and circles. ** The gov- 
ernment has to show the workman a legal way out of the 
difficulties of his situation,'' says Trepov. *' Then the 
Socialist agitator will be able to entice only the youngest 
and most energetic part of the crowd, while the average 
workman will prefer a less splendid, but safer legal 

This " legal way,'* however, did not mean the establish- 
ment of freedom of strikes or freedom of labor unions. 
No. The ** legal way " meant the granting of some 
privileges to loyal labor circles by special favor of the 
administration. The " legal way " in itself was 

Sergius Zubatov, chief of the secret police in Moscow, 
was the first to put this theory into practice. Under his 
auspices, the Council of Workers in the Mechanical 
Trades of Moscow was established (1901). The Coun- 
cil had to care for the interests of labor, at the same time 
scrupulously avoiding any allusion to the existing po- 
litical order. The Council had to be a safety-valve for 
the spirit of dissatisfaction in the ranks of labor. Im- 
provements in the conditions of the workmen had to be 
obtained not by legislative measures, but by the leniency 
of the administration (similar organizations were es- 
tablished by the same Zubatov in Minsk and a few other 

The results were surprising. Large masses of work- 
men poured into the new organization. They did not 
know of the forces backing this organization. They knew 
only that here was a place where they could discuss their 
needs, where they could formulate their demands and 
where they were safe from police invasions. They gave 
the Council a character totally different from the ideas of 
its creator. ** The result of the establishment of the new 
organization," state the factory-inspectors, " was a series 
of strikes hr greater in number than any experienced 


before, together with a tremendous, unprecedented influx 
of complaints.'* 

The attempt failed. The unrest did not cease. 
'' Loyal channels '' were futile where nothing could be 
obtained through these '' channels " but floods of friendly 
words from agents-provocateurs. Zvolyanski, the chief 
of the Police Department, bitterly complained: '* The 
Ministry of the Interior allowed these organizations to 
be established in order to divert the workmen from the 
anti-governmental propaganda. This was the case at 
the beginning. ... In the course of time, however, 
the Moscow administration became powerless to stop the 
movement; it could not stop outsiders from taking part 
in the conduct of strikes in the various factories and 
shops. Plehve, the Minister of the Interior, found these 
organizations to be illegal, but their elimination was now 
recognized as impossible.'' * 

** He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the 
ditch which he made." All attempts to reconcile the 
labor-class with the existing order failed. Labor was 
disheartened, restless; labor had nothing to lose, possess- 
ing, as it did, no established organizations, no offices, 
no trades unions' treasuries and no improvement which it 
would be afraid to endanger. It was much simpler for 
labor to go on strike in Russia than in Western Europe. 
Russian labor was " free." 

With the development of industry, crises began to be 
felt both by capital and labor. The crisis of 1 899-1900 
was especially severe. Here is a letter from Lodz, pub- 
lished in Syn Otechestva early in 1900: 

*' The crisis, like a terrific hurricane, has swept Lodz. 
It has spared nobody, it has made no exemptions. Some 
are only slightly touched and their injuries are not severe, 
some are bruised and battered, and many have been de- 
stroyed and buried under the debris. It is a great battle- 

*T. Ch. Ozerov, Politics in the Labor Problem, p. 237, 



field after the battle. When you walk along the Petro- 
kovskaya street, you see gloomy drawn faces, haggard 
looks, hosts of victims. All these restless men, with sad 
eyes and drooping heads, have just closed or are about to 
close their shops and factories. They wander about like 
so many shadows, unable to get hold of themselves after 
the terrible blow. And what has become of the work- 
men of the closed shops? Nothing; they are here, on 
the same streets, blocking the pavements, not knowing 
what to begin.'' 

The crisis of 1 899-1 900 was full of disaster for in- 
dustry and labor in Warsaw, Ivanovo-Vosnesensk, Nishni- 
Novgorod, Tula, Baku, the Donetz region, the Kiev 
sugar area, on the Volga, etc. With no labor unions, no 
unemployment insurance, no aid from city administra- 
tion, the workingmen in times of crisis were utterly 
unprotected. This increased their bitter resentment 
against the political order. Labor was inclined to 
think absolutism the cause of all its misery, all its 

Strikes, although forbidden by law, became an every- 
day occurrence. The number of strikes and strikers in 
comparison with those of other countries is given in the 
following table. 


OF Strikes in Ten Years (1895-1904) * 


Number of Strikes 

Number of Strikers 

Number of dayslost 


France w 

Austria V 







(in millions^ 






The average number of workmen participating in each 
strike was smaller than in England or in Italy and the 
average duration of a strike was shorter than in any 

*Varsar, Strike Statistics, pp. 1-4. 


other country. But in frequency of strikes, Russia ex- 
ceeded all other countries but England. 

It lay in the nature of Russian political life that a 
strike for an increase in wages or an improvement in 
shop conditions necessarily became a political strike. 
The government considered every social movement, every 
expression of unrest as shaking the foundations of its 
power. It tried to bribe the workmen, it tried to show 
them a smiling face, it tried even to play " organization "; 
but behind these smiles, behind the mask of paternal care 
was the grim countenance of autocracy disturbed and 
frightened by a new growing force it could not command. 
The average workingman did not reason, but he was full 
of the spirit of rebellion, and with reality cruelly staring 
at him from every side, he was not to be deceived. 

Labor was one of the main sources of the Great Revo- 


We shall now leave the noisy cities with their crowded 
streets, the din of their factories, the crash of speeding 
cars and the haste and nervous tension of modern in- 
dustrial life. We shall direct our steps to one of those 
quiet poetic villages situated a few hundred miles from 
the province town, dreaming over a beautiful lake or 
bathing in sunshine on the banks of a rippling river. 
After all, Russia was, and is now, in the main an agri- 
cultural country; 80 per cent, of her population derived 
their income from agricultural work. And if Odessa or 
Baku or Ivanovo-Vosnesensk were the symbol of the 
coming, the milestones of a new development destined to 
change the face of holy Russia, the small villages under 
thatched or shingled roofs were the symbol of the existing, 
the mainstays of the entire economic structure. 

It is not easy to reach a distant village. After several 
hours in the train we arrive at a railroad station located 
in the midst of a deserted field. All seems asleep in and 
around the little station. It takes time and trouble to 
find a peasant ready to drive us to the village of our 
destination. The road is unpaved. Mud-holes and slip- 
pery declivities make the travel uncomfortable in rainy 
weather; clouds of dust envelop the vehicle on a fair day. 

Hour after hour passes. We have ample time to look 
around. What a dreary sight! Meager fields, thin 
grasses, consumptive little groves, black or gray bare 
hillocks in the midst of growing crops. And the general 
tone — so subdued, so monotonous, so full of melancholy. 
And yet, the soil seems to be rich; riotous masses of 
vegetation might easily spring up from this bountiful 



ground; and the broad, unlimited prospect might brighten 
into a symphony of color. 

Here, at last, is the village. As we approach it closely 
it looks far less poetic than from a bird's-eye view through 
the window of a passing train. Dark log cabins rise 
from the bare ground like so many heaps of gray dust. 
Something crude, decaying and unwholesome breathes 
from the whole scene. Thin faces, emaciated frames, 
stooped backs, unshapely figures, worn-out clothes, mud, 
dirt, wet walls. ... 

No, let us not give the impression that we are preju- 
diced against village life. Let us quote a writer who was 
for many years the standard-bearer of the old regime 
and by no means inclined to exaggerate the misery of 
rural Russia. " Let us enter a village," he says, *' and 
look upon it with the eyes of modern, cultivated people. 
The roads are deep in mud, often rendering them im- 
passable. Near the houses there are no trees, no bushes 
to rest your eyes on. The horse-pond is close to the 
well, and the dung oozes into it. In the courtyards every- 
thing, is filthy, the odor quite intolerable. The cattle in 
their inclosure stand knee-deep in excrement. The en- 
trance room and the living-room are black from neglect, 
and the floors are strewn with the excrements of poultry. 
In winter, the living-room is shared with pigs, sheep, 
geese; sometimes the cow is also placed here to get 
warm (an English traveler wondered at the low demands 
of a Russian cow, that it was able to endure such a 
room). Still, where there are cattle the lowest pitch of 
poverty has not been reached. In the same room, a 
baby crawls on the floor with a potato in its hands. 
Cockroaches, bedbugs, fleas infest the rooms in legions, 
and the heads, beards, mustaches and even eyebrows of 
grown-up men are filled with the most hideous insects. 
** Well, 'tis nothing "... Everything is so utterly 
foul, there is not a spot where you could lie down. . . . 
The mark of evil taste and barbarism is stamped on 

By 1 I. Levitan. 

A Russian- Landscape 

By K Kryzhitzki. 

A Landlord's Mansion 


everything, on the household, on the devastated natural 
surroundings." * 

Mr. Menshikov is perhaps too severe in his condem- 
nation of the Russian peasant, though the picture he 
draws is true. It was not the peasant's fault that his 
life was branded with barbarism and bad taste, and that 
his natural surroundings became devastated. It was 
poverty that lent this grim aspect to rural Russia. 

But how was it possible? How could it have come to 
pass that a race of industrious people living on a rich 
soil and having very moderate wants, were so poverty- 
stricken? The causes are many, and they lead us 
as far back as 1861, the year of the aboHtion of 

Prior to 1861, the peasant communities had no land 
of their own. Legally, the land belonged to the landlord, 
of whom the peasants themselves were the private prop- 
erty. Each estate was divided into two unequal parts, 
one remaining in the hands of the owner as his private 
possession, the other being granted to the peasant com- 
munity as the source of its sustenance. Both parts were 
tilled by the peasants, the assumption being that labor , 
on the first part was an equivalent for the right of hold- 
ing the second. Thus, the labor-week of the peasant 
usually consisted of three days' work for himself and 
three days for the landlord, sometimes the relation being 
two to four. The peasants were unfree; they could not 
leave their village or change their owner or refuse to 
obey the orders of the landlord. But the landlord him- 
self was also unfree: he could not leave his peasants 
to their own fate, he had to provide them with land 
sufficient for a scant living, and it was against his own 
economic interests to have them on the verge of starva- 
tion. The proverbial saying of the peasants, *' We are 
thine, and thou art ours,'' is an apposite expression of 
the relation between serf and landlord. 

♦M. Menshikov, Letters to My Neighbors, November, 1905, pp. 521-22. 


When It became evident that the archaic system of 
serfdom was incompatible with the future development 
of Russian economic life, and the government saw fit to 
yield to public opinion demanding the abolition of serf- 
dom (a demand backed by numerous revolts of peasants 
themselves, which justified the remark of one of Russia's 
statesmen, " Let us free the peasants from above, or else 
they will free themselves from below"), the question 
arose as to what should be the economic status of the 
freed peasants. Should the entire land remain in posses- 
sion of the landlord, and the peasants become " free as 
the wind '' without any land-property but their houses, 
as the extreme reactionary faction among the nobles de- 
sired? Should the peasants retain that part of the land 
which they were holding under serfdom, as was the view 
of the more liberal factions ? Or should the land of the 
peasant communities be increased in comparison with 
what they were holding under serfdom, as the extreme 
left groups insisted upon? In the latter case, should the 
peasants receive their land free of charge, or should 
they pay the landlords for whatever land passed from 
their hands into those of their former slaves? 

The government decided upon a set of measures that 
met the expectations and wishes of the landlords far more 
than the interests of the peasants. The law of February 
19, 1 86 1, abolishing the personal dependence of the 
villagers upon the landlords, put the peasants under a 
double economic strain : parts of the former holdings of 
the peasants were to be returned to the landlords; for 
the remaining parts the peasants had to pay exorbitant 

Now, the holdings of the peasants prior to 1861 were 
by no means very extensive. In fact, the peasants were 
scarcely able to subsist even under former conditions. 
Hardly any portion of their holdings could be taken 
away without undermining the very foundations of their 
existence. Yet, in twenty-one out of thirty-six central 


Russian provinces, 26.2 per cent of the area held by the 
peasants was cut off and returned to the landlords; in 
many provinces, where the soil was especially fertile and 
agriculture formed the main occupation of the population, 
the portions cut off were considerably larger. Thus, in 
the provinces of Poltava and Yekaterinoslav they ex- 
tended to 40 per cent, in the province of Saratov 41 per 
cent., in the province of Samara 44 per cent, of the for- 
mer peasants* holdings. In other words, if a peasant 
in the province of Poltava had lived on ten acres of land 
as a serf, he had now to live as a free man on six acres 
only. In the other fifteen provinces, where the land 
was less fertile and industry played a greater part, the 
portions cut off amounted to 9.9 per cent 

This was one of the salient features of the reform 
that were fraught with grave danger for the well-being 
of the fifty-two millions of freed peasants. Another 
feature was the *' redemption.'' 

The landlords had to be remunerated for the slave- 
labor they lost by the reform of 1861. The sponsors 
of the reform did not believe the landlords would be able 
to continue their economic activities without aid and 
support. This opinion might have been well founded; 
but of all the varieties of support that were possible, 
the government chose the one that was most burdensome 
for the peasants : it made them pay a heavy price for the 
land remaining in their possession. This price, called 
redemption, far exceeded the market value of the land. 
The total redemption-sum, to be paid in forty-nine yearly 
payments, amounted to 1.5 billions of rubles. 

In recent years A. E. Lossitzki, an authority on agra- 
rian problems, made a comparison between the actual 
value of the land at the time of the reform and the cost of 
redemption. According to his estimates, the market 
value of 9,841,000 dessatin of land in the black-earth 
region was 219 millions of rubles in 1854-58; and 284 
millions in 1863-72. For the same area of land the peas- 


ants had to pay 342 millions. In the other regions, for 
an area valued in 1863-72 at 180 millions, they had to 
pay as much as 342 millions. The peasants were free, 
but their prospect was more than gloomy. 

A contemporary of the reform of 1861, Nicholas 
Chernyshevski, a man of deep economic knowledge and 
thoroughly acquainted with Russian economic conditions, 
made in 1859 an estimate of what the peasants would 
have to pay for their land. He came to the conclusion 
that if their holdings were increased by a third, the total 
payment under normal conditions would amount to 531 
millions of rubles. The sum of 1.5 billions rumored at 
that time he considered an incredible, terrifying phan- 
tom created by the enemies of the reform to frighten the 
public. '^ We endeavored," he writes, *' to keep as close 
to actual conditions as possible. We based our calcula- 
tion on scrupulously examined data concerning half a 
million serfs, while those who frighten us with billions 
have usually no foundation at all." * 

The phantom became a reality. The free " sons of the 
soil " began their free work under an intolerable pres- 
sure. And yet, an unhampered further development 
might, perhaps, have overcome all these difficulties and 
rendered rural Russia sound and prosperous. The mis- 
fortune of all these millions of freed slaves was that 
they were tied hand and foot by restrictive measures 
opposed to agricultural progress. 
J One of these measures was the quasi-communistic 
ownership of land. 

The individual peasant did not receive his piece of 
land as his private property. The land belonged to the 
village community, which apportioned it among its mem- 
bers according to the strength of their families and their 
fitness for work. Every ten or fifteen years the com- 
munity would reapportion the land with regard to the 

* Sovremennik, 1859, ^^ Redemption Difficult? [Works, Volume ^ 
P- 347.] 


changes in the households of the individual peasants. 
The peasant could not sell his share of community land, 
he was not free to refuse to accept the land assigned to 
him by the village-council, nor was he at liberty to re- 
nounce his membership in the village-community. The 
redemption-payments were not individual payments. The 
community was made responsible for the debts of the 
individual peasant and, therefore, looked upon land- 
holding not as a right, but a duty. Many a peasant 
would have been glad to forego the blessings of land- 
holding together with its cumbersome duties. But this, 
being in opposition to the interests of the community, 
was not permitted. 

The village-community, in apportioning the land, ex- 
ercised a peculiar kind of justice. It gave the individual 
peasant not one compact piece of land which he could 
husband according to his means and abilities, but a num- 
ber of narrow strips in various parts of the community 
land. To understand this, let us imagine a community 
possessing 800 acres of land to be apportioned equally 
among 100 families. Each family would have a right 
on eight acres. Let us now imagine that the 800 acres 
are not all equal in fertility, but consist of hillside, valley, 
swamps, barren ground, woods, pasture, etc., forming ten 
portions of a different quality. Now, the justice of the 
village-community demanded that each of the hundred 
families should have a share in each of the ten portions 
or " fields." Accordingly, the land of each peasant 
would consist of ten 0.8 acre strips located far apart from 
each other, the strips usually being long and narrow, 
sometimes not more than a few yards in width. 

What were the consequences? The peasant had no 
inducement to improve his land nor any possibility of 
doing so. He had no reason to invest money and labor 
in improvements on land which in a few years would 
pass from his possession into the hands of his neighbor 
by order of the community council. He could not think 


of more intensive agriculture, having only ridiculously 
small strips of land at his disposal and being obliged to 
do the same thing and at the same time as his neighbors. 
He could not sow clover on his strip while his neighbor 
on the next strip sowed wheat or barley. He could not 
seed flax while all the other strips lay fallow and served 
as pasture to the community cattle. He had to plow and 
sow and harvest simultaneously with all his neighbors. 
No free play was left to his initiative and enterprising 
spirit. Of course, he could rent land from the land- 
lord on which he would have more freedom, but his 
rented land was of necessity only an addition to his share 
in the community land, and besides, the rent was heavy 
and increasing from year to year. 

Thus, the agricultural progress was stunted from the 
very beginning by the laws regulating the possession of 
land. These laws were intended to preserve equality in 
village-life and to protect the poor against proletariza- 
tion. In reality, they bound the peasant to the ground 
and made him do unprofitable work while as a free 
laborer he would perhaps have earned far more. They 
made the individual peasant dependent upon the whim of 
the community-council, which could deny him the right to 
leave the village for an industrial center. Hundreds of 
thousands of peasants, having left behind them all their 
agricultural past and all hopes for an agricultural future, 
still had to pay yearly their share of land duties or be 
denied a permit to leave the village. 

We have now surveyed the main evils of rural Russia. 
These are : ( i ) an insuificient area of land in possession 
of the peasants; (2) excessive redemption payments for 
the land granted; (3) absence of individual property on 
land, and the economic deficiencies it entails; (4) absence 
of personal freedom on the part of the peasant. We 
must add: a heavy land tax, a poll tax and many other 
taxes besides the redemption payments; lack of schooling 
and education; lack of knowledge as to the modern 


methods of agriculture; lack of cheap credit; lack of laws 
protecting the poor peasant against the exploitation of 
the rich. All this, against the background of a reckless 
and brutal political order, may give us an adequate pic- 
ture of an overwhelming majority of rural communities 
in Russia twenty years ago. 

The results can be seen from the following figures: 
Between 1870 and 1900 the peasant-population increased 
56.9 per cent, and the number of family-households in- 
creased 57.8 per cent, while the total area of land in 
possession of the peasants (both community and private 
land) increased only 20.5 per cent, and the total area 
of land tilled by the peasants (including land rented 
from the landlords) increased 40.5 per cent. The num- 
ber of cattle in possession of the peasants increased only 
9.5 per cent. In other words, the increase in land-posses- 
sions was 2.8 times less than the increase of the rural 
population; the increase of the cultivated area was 1.5 
times less, and the increase in the number of cattle six 
times less than the increase of the population.* 

The growth of the cultivated area must not necessarily 
keep pace with the growth of the rural population, pro- 
vided the productivity of land increases. The figures 
of cattle, however, show that the peasant did not intensify 
his methods of agriculture. The three-crop system was 
prevalent in Russia in 1900 just as it was in 1850 and 
before. The agricultural implements were still primitive. 
Artificial fertilizing was a thing unknown to the bulk 
of the peasants. The soil was becoming poorer and 
poorer owing to inadequate cultivation. Poor soil 
meant poor crops; poor crops meant hunger and 

The peasants were compelled to rent land. The rent 
went high. Towards the beginning of the twentieth 
century the rent in twenty-seven provinces of European 
Russia amounted to 81.1 per cent of the net receipts from 

*A Finn-Yenotayevski, Economic Life of Modern Russia, p. 113. 


the land. The rent was often paid not in money, but in 
kind, — the peasant working on the fields of the land- 
lord. This meant more exploitation and a greater 

It was a pitiful sight — the husbandry of the average 
peasant. Here he stood, on his small lot, working hard, 
limiting his wants, and never able to make both ends 
meet. With a sigh of yearning he would remember the 
former times of plenty, when the year's crop was stored 
up in the granary and sufficed till the harvest of the next 
year, when the linen and the woolens for the clothes of 
the family were made in the household itself, when money 
was needed only for the purchase of salt and iron- 
implements, and when life was secure. He was now pro- 
ducing for exchange, — the poor little peasant. He 
needed money. He had to pay taxes, he had to make re- 
demption-payments, he had to buy cotton-goods for him- 
self and his family, he had to buy kerosene to light his 
cabin, he had sometimes to buy a horse or a cow, he had 
to buy wood for his fire-place. He could not store up 
his crop. He could not wait. He had to sell his rye and 
his wheat and his oats as soon as he reaped them. He 
had to sell at any price. The shrewd middle-man was 
waiting for him as a beast of prey is lurking for its 
innocent victim. The shrewd middle-man would even 
lend him money beforehand, on account of his future 
crops. When the harvest is reaped, it is taken away at 
a very low price. Later in winter the peasant is com- 
pelled to buy rye and oats for his own family at a price 
far exceeding that of his sale. Towards spring he has 
no money, no seeds, no reserves. The only way out is 
to hire himself as a laborer on the landlord's estate. His 
piece of land he leaves in the hands of his wife and small 
children, who are not able to cultivate it in a proper way. 
The land deteriorates more and more. Poverty in- 

The village-community laws were aimed at preventing 


the pauperization of the peasants. In reality, pauperiza- 
tion was only taking on odd forms. The peasant was a 
full-fledged member of his community; he had a right 
on land; he was not allowed to sell his lot of land; he 
seemed to be secure under the protection of wise laws. 
No law, however, could prevent the poor from becoming 
poorer or the rich from accumulating land. The peas- 
ant had no right to sell his lot, but he had a right to 
rent it to his more fortunate neighbor and to be- 
come a hired laborer in the household of the latter. 
This was by no means unusual in the villages of 

Data collected in the 'nineties in the province of Samara 
concerning 28,276 village-households with a population 
of 164,146 men, women and children, give us the fol- 
lowing picture of the distribution of land among the 
various classes. 37.2 per cent, of the households, em- 
bracing the poorest classes of peasants, held 8 per cent, 
of the land; 38.2 per cent., embracing the middle-classes, 
held 28.6 per cent, of the land, while 7.6 per cent, of the 
households, belonging to the most prosperous peasants, 
held as much as 36.5 per cent, of the land. These 7.6 
per cent, of the households, belonging to the richest and 
most powerful in village-life, held as much land as 75.4 
per cent, of the households, belonging to the less success- 
ful (Table 7).* Similar figures are found in all the 
other statistical data dealing with the situation of the 
peasants. In the Tauric province, in 1891, 40.2 per cent, 
of the peasants in three counties held 12.1 per cent, of 
the land, while 3.7 per cent, of the peasants held 16 
per cent, of the land : a handful of rich villagers holding 
more land than almost one half of the entire village- 
population! (Table 8.) 

Nominally, the land belonged to the village community 
and to every one of its members. In reality, part of it 
was passing from the hands of the weak into the hands 

*V. Ilyin, Development of Capitalism in Russia, 


of the stronger. The process was slow and exceedingly 
painful, owing to legal restrictions. The overwhelm- 
ing majority of the peasants desperately clung to their 
land and sank ever deeper into poverty, starvation and 


We want land! 

This was the cry of the peasant all over the boundless 
fields of the great Empire. This was the common lan- 
guage intelligible to all the villagers in all the provinces, 
East and West, North and South. This was the onl'j 
slogan the peasant fully comprehended. 

You might have come and tried to convince him that 
a piece of land was not all; that adding three acres to the 
three he possessed, would solve the problem only for a 
while; that the resources of land must necessarily be- 
come exhausted, however large they may be; that in- 
tensive agriculture, scientific methods of cultivation, im- 
provement in the quality of grain produced, coupled with 
business efficiency and co-operative organization of the 
peasants, would make it possible to derive a fair income 
even under the present system of holdings. You would 
have preached to deaf ears. The peasant could not 
understand these problems ; he was not prepared. They 
presupposed an intelligence he did not possess. They pre- 
supposed a freedom he could not dream of. Besides, all 
these solutions required money and time, while the peas- 
ant was poor and impatient. 

The only way out of his misery, a way at once effective 
and comparatively easy, he saw in increasing his posses- 
sion of land. 

The land was there. It belonged to the landlord. 
Parts of it had been held by the peasant himself or by 
his father under the system of serfdom. Parts were 
rented by the peasant. The landlord did not work. He 
hired the villagers, their wives and children, he supervised 



them through hired managers. Often he did not live 
on the estate at all, and had no connections with the life 
of the peasants. Many of the landlords possessed tre- 
mendous estates comprising hundreds of thousands of 
acres. Their land was well cultivated; their cattle well 
fed; their supplies seemingly unlimited. The peasant 
was envious. In his unsophisticated mind, this was un- 
just. He had no communistic ideas as to his own life. 
On the contrary, in his relations with his fellow villagers 
he manifested a keen sense of private property. But 
the land drew him as a magnet. It was something 
primordial. It was overwhelming. The land was God's 
and the people's. This was his creed. This was his most 
cherished thought. 

A dark message was creeping through the villages, 
year after year, finding its way into the very hearts of 
the peasants. The landlords had deceived them. The 
landlords had deceived the Tzar. It was the wish of 
the Tzar to give all the land to the people. But the 
treacherous nobles concealed the Tzar's manifesto and 
gave the people only a miserable part of the land. It 
was the wish of the Tzar that the people should rise and 
defend their rights. 

The expectation of some miracle that would come and 
return the land to the real owners, never ceased to stir 
the imagination of the village. 

One characteristic detail may be mentioned in this 
connection. In 1873 ^"^ 1874 hosts of idealistic youths 
undertook a revolutionary crusade into the very heart of 
rural Russia. They disguised themselves as peasants, 
artisans or clergymen; they lived with the peasants, 
worked on their farms, slept in their barns, all the time 
trying to propagate revolutionary ideas and create nuclei 
of revolutionary organizations. The attempt failed. 
The Mujiks (peasants) were not yet fit for secret or- 
ganizations. They did not understand any revolutionary 
ideas but the most primitive ones, such as that the land 


should belong to the people and that a bad policeman 
was bad. In 1876, however, two revolutionists, Stepha- 
novich and Deutsch, tried to organize the peasants of 
Chigirin county, province of Kiev, on another basis, and 
their attempt was crowned with success. Stephanovich 
and Deutsch utilized the confidence of the peasants in 
the Tzar. They appeared before the villagers as secret 
envoys of the Tzar, sent to stir a revolt against the land- 
lords who usurped the land. They showed the ** Golden 
Manifesto,** which, they said, was signed by the Tzar, 
urging the peasants to organize in secret unions and to 
prepare for a general overthrow of the landlords* rule. 
The peasants followed the call faithfully. They united 
in circles and groups, with oaths of allegiance and other 
ceremonies. They built a complete hierarchy of repre- 
sentatives. Each member had a spear in his possession 
ready for the day of vengeance. The first beginnings of 
the organization dated 1876, and it spread so rapidly 
that in the spring of 1876 it counted several hundred 
members. It was later unearthed by the police and 
severely punished, but it shed a remarkable light on the 
psychology of rural Russia. The peasants believed in 
the Tzar, but they also believed that the Tzar wished 
them to possess the entire land. The Tzar was good, 
the nobles were bad. The Tzar was merciful, the officers 
were cruel. Opposing the officers was no crime. Looting 
from the landlord was no sin. 

This psychology accounts for the increasing mutinies 
of the peasants ever since the early 'seventies. As typi- 
cal may be mentioned the mutiny of 1874 in Valuisk 
county, province of Voronesh. There was a misunder- 
standing between the treasury and a peasant community 
of this county as to a strip of woods. The peasants 
claimed that the woods were theirs, while the courts de- 
cided in favor of the treasury. The peasants paid no 
heed to the decisions of the court, continuing to cut trees 
and graze cattle in the woods. The guards seized the 


community cattle and demanded ransom. Two hundred 
peasants, men and women, gathered and went to the res- 
cue of the cattle. One of the women struck a guard 
with a club. His comrade fired a revolver and shot the 
woman. A general skirmish ensued. Five peasants and 
two guards were killed. 

The mutiny, like every mutiny, had the most deplor- 
able consequences for the peasants. A regiment of sol- 
diers was ordered to the spot, each provided with thirty- 
eight bullets. A special senator, despatched by the Tzar, 
was in charge of the expedition. Two wagons of rods 
were brought to the village. Fifty peasants were flogged 
and five sent to Siberia; the soldiers were quartered in 
the houses of the peasants, who were obliged to pay 
sixty copecks per capita daily for the sustenance of the 
expeditionary force. The village authorities were dis- 
charged and replaced by reservist sergeants. Later, the 
papers published the Tzar's ** Imperial gratitude to 
Senator Klushin for the excellent fulfilment of his in- 

The same year witnessed another mutiny in the prov- 
ince of Vilna. The peasants claimed a piece of land in 
possession of the landlord. The official surveyor arrived 
with the intention of drawing a new land-mark in favor 
of the landlord. The peasants armed themselves with 
clubs and scythes and, accompanied by their wives and 
children, went to the claimed ground to stop the surveyor. 
The authorities sent a detachment of soldiers who 
arrested the rebels and put them in prison. 

Similar conflicts occurred nearly every year in various 
parts of the country. The peasants cut down woods, 
grazed cattle on the fields of the landlords, looted their 
estates, set their buildings on fire, offered resistance to 
the local authorities and suffered terrible penalties, with- 
out becoming convinced that their doings were wrong. 

It must be noted that attacks on the rich peasants who 
possessed considerable areas of land were rather un- 


usual. The rich villager was a member of the com- 
munity; he was of the peasants' own stock; he spoke their 
language and lived a life similar to theirs. They may 
have hated him, but they respected his property. The 
landlord was another case. He was a stranger. He 
belonged to another class. He usually spoke French and 
despised the Mujik and his habits. He had been master 
before 1861, and the Tzar freed the "people'' from 
under his yoke of serfdom. Was it not right that the 
** people " should take the land away from him? 

It is a characteristic fact that twenty years after the 
abolition of serfdom many peasants started lawsuits 
against their former masters, claiming unjust apportion- 
ment of the land. At the time of the reform itself they 
seemed to be quite satisfied; under the influence of the 
pecuHar peasants' ideas and the pressure of land-scarcity, 
they had become restless. A decision of the courts in 
favor of the landlords never had a great effect with the 
peasants. The courts belonged to the ** gentlemen " and 
were hostile to the interests of the *' people," — such was 
the common conception. 

It must be borne in mind that the landlords sometimes 
directly provoked riots and disorder by unjust treatment 
of the village communities. The land of the village was 
often surrounded by the land of the landlord. The latter 
would demand exorbitant prices for granting the village 
a thoroughfare. He would forbid the community to use 
the water from his lake. He would impose heavy penal- 
ties for a peasant's stray cow found on his fields. That 
abuses of this kind existed was repeatedly admitted by 
the officials. In a letter to Mrs. Shklareva, a landlord 
in the province of Kiev, the Governor of that province 
wrote in 1902: "The results of an official investigation 
having been presented by me to the Governor-General, 
His Excellency has come to the conclusion that the dis- 
turbances in the village Golubyatino took place through 
your own fault, because you attempted to curtail the 


legitimate rights of the peasants on the pasture. His 
Excellency has instructed me to urge you to stop your 
unlawful attempts on the pasturage of the peasants, and 
to remind you that in case the disturbances are renewed 
the consequences may be injurious to your own best in- 


Of course, not many of the greedy landlords were in- 
clined to listen to reason. 

In the course of years, the situation of the rural com- 
munities became ever worse. Their power of resistance 
was weakened. Their reserves were exhausted. The 
soil yielded ever smaller crops. The economic pressure 
became severer from year to year. The wants of the 
peasants grew. The payments did not slacken. The 
debts pulled the villager down. Earnest investigators, 
such as J. E. Janson in the 'seventies and K. D. Kavelin 
in the early 'eighties, called attention to the disquieting 
situation of the villages. But nothing was done. In 
1 88 1 the redemption payments were decreased; between 
1883 and 1887 the poll tax was abandoned; but at the 
same time the land-tax and the indirect taxes were in- 

The unstable equilibrium of village-life was perpetually 
on the point of collapse. The catastrophe came in the 
form of famines, which at regular intervals afflicted large 
areas of the country. In 1891 occurred the first great 
famine in Eastern Russia, in 1898-99 the second. Famine 
meant hunger, disease and starvation in the literal sense 
of the words. Men, women and children lay under the 
low roofs of their cabins slowly dying. Their fields re- 
mained untilled, their horses or cows were sold for a 
trifle, their households were falling to ruin owing to their 
lack of physical strength to do work, and owing also to 
the lack of seeds (which shows that one year of famine 
had a fatal influence for many years to come). In the 
famine of 1899 ^^^ number of peasants afflicted with 
scurvy in the three provinces of Samara, Kazan and 












Simbirsk alone amounted to 100,000. There were vil- 
lages counting two or three hundred sick. In the village 
Nurlaty, province of Samara, 88y sick with scurvy were 
registered in 1899. The appearance of the victims was 
horrifying: swollen limbs, ecchymoses all over the body, 
rotting gums, appalling odor. 

Here is a picture of a village stricken by famine : 

" Miserable cabins, cold in winter, intolerably hot in 
summer, wet and fetid all the time. Numerous cabins 
are provided with only one window and are sunken into 
the ground. Many roofs have disappeared together with 
the rafters: the straw has been used for fodder, the 
rafters for fire. Some cabins are still ornamented with 
ugly wads of old straw, thoroughly rotten. It has not 
been consumed because even the hungry cattle of the 
peasant seem to refuse it. Many a cabin stands apart, 
detached from the others, — a house of cards, as it were. 
Not a tree, not a fence, not a barn, not a court-yard can 
be seen near these houses. If all these things formerly 
existed, they have been sold, cut down, burned for 
wood." * 

All this was on the banks of the majestic Volga, in 
the most fertile region of the country, in a province 
called the '* granary of Russia," in a county where the 
mold is black and deep and rich, the climate healthy, 
the air pure and fragrant with the odor of innumerable 
wild flowers, and the population generally robust, simple 
and willing to toil. 

Very little was needed to arouse the dissatisfaction of 
the starving millions. They certainly had nothing to lose. 
Their dissatisfaction meant the greatest conceivable dis- 
order all over the country. 

The dissatisfied peasants were the source of the great- 
est annoyance to the old regime in the course of the Great 

*A. S. Prugavin, Hungry Russia, pp. 59-60. 



/ The interests of economic development were the com- 
mon ground of the Russian revolution. The workmen 
and peasants were its body; the intellectuals its spirit. 

It is a painful joy and a source of pathetic inspiration 
to follow the history of the intellectual groups in Russia. 
They stand out like so many pillars of fire in the desert. 
Their voices sound like beautiful music in a prison-house. 
Their eyes saw the dawn when dark reigned all around. 
And their call stirred the depths of young souls when all 
was apathy and gloom. 

It has been the misfortune of the Russian intellectuals 
to be born in a country united only very late with the mod- 
ern developments of Europe. When France gave birth to 
the first revolution Russia was still a barbaric land. 
When Europe gave birth to the revolutions of 1848 
Russia was not yet planning to do away with slavery. 
When England and America were making progress in 
establishing democratic institutions Russia was still groan- 
ing under the whip of the fiercest absolutism. When 
compulsory public education had become one of the foun- 
dations of modern constitutional countries the bulk of the 
Russian people could not read or write. 

The Russian absolutism, however, was not able to shut 
all windows facing the Western world. There was a time in 
the eighteenth century when traveling abroad was looked 
upon with suspicion by the Russian administration. How- 
ever, communication between Europe and Russia, between 
the ideas of the time and the receptive minds of Russian 
intellectuals could not be prevented. The Russian youths 



went to France and Germany to drink from the foun- 
tains of knowledge. The Russian thinkers were imbued 
with the newest ideas, theories and conceptions of the 
Western world. And since in the actual life of Russia 
there was no room for applying all these Ideas, the Rus- 
sian intellectual necessarily became a dreamer. He hated 
the existing order of things in his country, he clearly saw 
the meanness and the evil effects of slavery and political 
oppression, but, the conditions of life being against him, 
he was unable to step to the front and become a leader 
of men and an active fighter for his ideas. His was only 
the longing. Years passed. Generations followed gen- 
erations. The intellectuals themselves changed. But 
the fact remained that they were cut off from the sources 
of life by a brutal force and were obliged to spend their 
years in meditation, in visions, in disappointed feelings. 
The happiest lot was that of the writers. They, at least, 
had the means of expressing their ideas and were able 
to give vent to their emotions and aspirations, though 
they were compelled to do so in disguised forms, and 
had to pay heavy penalties for their influence with their 
readers. Many a great man, the flower of the nation, the 
pride of future generations, actually paid his toll of im- 
prisonment and exile. Such was the fate of Radishchev, 
Pushkin, Lermontov, Tchernyshevski, Hertzen, Pisarev, 
Dostoyevski and scores of other noble souls. Yet, in 
spite of all, the writers did social work. They were the 
only active class among the intellectuals. For nearly a 
century the writers were the only leaders of young Rus- 
sia. In literature, all that was idealistic, animated with 
love of freedom, inspired with devotion to the people 
and thrilled with the vision of a beautiful future, found 
its stronghold, its indestructible refuge. 

Literature alone, however, could not satisfy. Time 
and again Russian intellectuals attempted to organize and 
apply their ideas in practice. Their organizations, how- 
ever, being largely influenced by foreign examples and 


being premature under social and political conditions that 
existed in Russia, were doomed to failure. Such was the 
revolt of December, 1825, when army-officers and other 
intellectuals attempted to apply to Russia the ideas of 
the French revolution. Such was the enthusiastic move- 
ment of the Narodniki (Populists) in the 'seventies, 
when hundreds of highly cultivated, inspired young men 
and women attempted to apply Socialism to the Russian 
rural community. Such was the movement of the terror- 
ists who succeeded in assassinating Tzar Alexander II 
on March i, 1881, but soon succumbed to the superior 
force of the existing order. Such was the fate of many 
other groups and associations of revolutionary and radical 
Russia. Al] these organizations were carried on waves 
of high and beautiful enthusiasm; they included persons 
of great moral value and intellectual strength, but they 
came ahead of time. They were created in Russia, be- 
cause Western Europe had organizations of the same 
character and because Russian intellectuals looked west- 
ward as to a promised land. But Russia itself was not 
yet ripe for them. 

This peculiar position of the Russian intellectual in 
the history of his country — his body in the backward 
East, his mind In the progressive West — gave his char- 
acter a specific brand. The student of the Russian revolu- 
tion must by all means take this character into account. 
We are fully aware of the difficulties of outlining the 
characteristic features of an entire social group not al- 
ways homogeneous in its structure and changing from 
generation to generation with the progress of life. We 
admit further that personal impressions and Individual 
views of the writer may, in this respect, Interfere with 
objective scientific exactness far more than in any other 
field of investigation. In view of the fact, however, 
that the character of the Russian Intellectual accounts for 
many a strange turn in the history of the Russian revolu- 
tion which cannot be otherwise explained, we shall under- 


take a brief survey of this character, not pretending to 
make a many-sided, exhaustive study. 

The Russian intellectual was primarily a bookman. 
Theory meant for him infinitely more than real life. If 
the facts did not fit into his theoretical structure he would 
deny their existence or ignore them, or twist and misinter- 
pret them rather than change his theoretical conceptions. 
There was a time when the Russian revolutionists be- 
lieved that the way of Russian economic development was 
not the way of industrial capitalism and the prevalence 
of cities over rural life. They construed this theory in 
their firm belief that the village-community with its com- 
munal ownership of land was the nucleus of a Socialistic 
order destined to save Russia from the miseries of capi- 
talism and the hardships of class-struggle. Years passed; 
Russia became ever more industrialized; railroads, banks, 
stock-companies, industrial plants covered the plains of 
sacred Russia. And still this group, known as Narodniki, 
and all its numerous adherents, ardently clung to the idea 
that capitalism was only an unhealthy growth on the 
sound body of agrarian Russia and that the real creator 
of a new Socialistic order in Russia was the Mujik, the 
peasant. Ingenious arguments, deeply scientific methods, 
statistics, economic and philosophic theories were applied 
to prove this proposition. 

The Russian intellectual substituted discussion for 
action. Debating problems, working out programs, 
discussing theories and trends of opinion was for 
him not a means to an end, but an end in itself. 
Moreover, he actually believed that he could not 
undertake the slightest action, he could not make the 
first move before he had a theory and a program 
marked out in the most subtle details. The history of 
the Russian Social-Democrats and their fierce factional 
struggles over details of programs that had no applica- 
bility whatsoever in actual life, could furnish a sufficient 
number of illustrations. 


The Russian intellectual was eager for the newest ideas. 
Being barred from constructive social work in his own 
country, being denied the right and the duty to niold 
the political destinies of his people, he lacked the ability 
of adapting his plans to conditions, of seeing things in 
their real shape. He knew no limits to his projects of 
social reform. Thus it was possible that, in the 'forties, 
disciples of Fourier in Russia planned a reorganization 
of their country in accordance with the doctrine of their 
teacher; that in the 'sixties, in a country just freed from 
serfdom and hardly beginning to limp after Europe 
over the path of modern economic development, the 
ideas of Socialism made great headway; that in the 
'seventies, the Narodniki expected Russia to make 
one great bound from extreme absolutism to an order 
of perfect social justice. Thus it was possible that in 
1905 and 1906 many a grievous miscalculation was 
made. The Russian intellectual was confined to 
J ideas only. Being denied the test of practice, he 
chose not the most applicable, but the most advanced 

The Russian intellectual was inclined to self-analysis 
and self-accusation. The first hosts of intellectuals nat- 
urally descended from the noble landlords. Their fathers 
were slave-holders and supporters of the despotic rulers. 
The sons believed that the sins of their fathers rested 
on them and that their debt to the people could never 
be wiped out. A deep gloom, a pitiful melancholy, spread 
through the ranks of these idealists. They felt them- 
selves guilty without guilt. They were stricken with re- 
morse for crimes they had never committed. They 
repented for their class, whose bonds they had thrown 
off. Later, new groups of intellectuals sprang up from 
among the common people in the cities, even from among 
the peasants. These were more robust, more self-reliant 
and less cultivated. Yet even these, sons of the masses as 
they were, felt the burden of debt on their shoulders and 


considered it their primary duty to help the oppressed 
and the poor. 

The Russian intellectual was of a self-sacrificing spirit. 
He felt a deep contempt for those who *' settled down," 
who submitted to the inevitable, acquiesced in the existing 
order of things and became *' respectable,'' " peaceful." 
His ideal was a constant burning, an incessant groping 
for the beautiful, the true, and the just, an eternal pro- 
test against petrified forms of life. His road was the 
stony road of self-denial, of sacrificing the blood of his 
heart without deeming it heroic, of giving away the bloom 
of his life without expecting reward. The life of the 
Russian intellectual is truly written with the red of blood "^ 
and the gold of dreams on the dark pages of Russian 

The Russian intellectual had a deep reverence for the 
common people. With what a tremulous heart and with 
what a glowing hope he waited for the awakening of the 
mysterious giant — the people! From decade to decade 
he, the intellectual, built plans, constructed theories, 
fought battles, brought sacrifices and harvested sufferings, 
— all for the people, all in the expectation that the day 
would arrive when the masses would take their destiny 
into their own hands. He had to wait, long and patiently, 
before the social evolution of the country brought about 
the awakening of the masses. The intellectual, as it 
were, stood by the cradle of the Russian mass-movement, 
followed every stir of its body, greeted every sign of 
life, prepared for the new-born creature a garment of 
ideas and a cloak of programs. Long before the labor- 
movement assumed a mass-character, the Social-Demo- 
cratic intellectuals worked out a program of economic 
and political demands and outlined plans for the future 
revolution. Long before the peasant-masses began to 
protest against poverty and oppression, the Narodniki 
organized the Social-Revolutionary Party with its pro- 
gram of thorough-going agrarian reforms. And yet, 


when the long-looked-for moment arrived and the Rus- 
sian masses began to act in their own way, the intellec- 
tuals were at a loss. They had no experience. They did 
not know how to lead large crowds. The mass-movement 
developed rapidly and violently, and overthrew many a 
theoretical structure. 

The Russian intellectual was not a man of practical 
work. Perhaps he was too pure-minded, too unsophisti- 
cated to be able to reckon with the darker sides of every- 
day life. Perhaps his ideal visions, like blinders, pre- 
vented him from seeing life whole. He was not used 
to responsible social and political work, because he had 
never had a chance of doing it. At any rate, when the 
time of action arrived, there was sometimes too much 
talk and too little practical work. 

One set of intellectual social workers must be men- 
tioned apart from all the others. These are the represen- 
tatives and the professionals of the Zemstvo, The insti- 
tution of Zemstvo (county-representation) was estab- 
lished in 1864, in the liberal era of the first years of 
Alexander II. The Zemstvos were elected mainly by the 
local landlords and the peasants. They were popular 
agencies of the central government, created to provide 
for the economic and cultural needs of the population. 
The representatives of each county formed a County- 
Zemstvo, the representatives of all the counties in a 
province formed the Province-Zemstvos. The Zemstvos, 
county as well as province Zemstvos, concerned them- 
selves mainly with the needs of the agrarian population. 
They maintained model farms and employed instructors 
in modern methods of agriculture, horticulture, cattle- 
breeding and bee-rearing, to show the peasants the best 
ways of using their land and its resources. They pro- 
vided the population with cheap credit, with agricultural 
implements at reasonable prices, with first-class seeds to 
plant the fields. They built roads and turnpikes, estab- 


Hshed post-offices and telegraph-stations, maintained 
book-stores and libraries. A very important branch of 
the Zemstvo activities was the maintenance of hospitals 
and physicians giving medical aid to the peasants free of 
charge. Another branch was public education. Many 
Zemstvos had their own newspapers and magazines. 
Many conducted statistical researches as to the economic 
conditions of the population, — in fact the first reliable 
statistical data collected in Russia on a scientific basis 
were furnished by the Zemstvos. 

The range of the Zemstvo activities was wide enough, 
although none of them was of a political character. Law- 
making and law-criticizing were carefully eliminated 
from the program of the Zemstvos. Constitutionally, 
the Zemstvos were strictly confined to local affairs; their 
task was not to question, but to do practical work within 
the limits established by law. They were expressly for- 
bidden ** to meddle with affairs belonging to the juris- 
diction of the Central Government and its Institutions." 
Not even the laws pertaining to the very fields of their 
activities were the Zemstvos allowed to criticize. As for 
purely political questions, it was considered seditious to 
discuss them. 

And still the Zemstvos could by no means re- 
main loyal to the absolutistic order. The Zemstvos 
were the only representative bodies in Russia, elected 
by the population. The Zemstvo-suffrage was far from 
democratic, the electoral law securing to the noble 
landlords a majority over the peasants, yet the gen- 
eral character of the Zemstvos was liberal and op- 
posed to the central government and its agents. The 
reason lay in the fact that the most reactionary elements 
of the gentry were usually the most ignorant also, and 
took no interest in public affairs. Those of the public- 
minded, politically enlightened and well-educated gentle- 
men who participated in the Zemstvo were, as a rule, 
adherents of a liberal Constitution for the Russian 


Empire. They were the only legal opposition in 

The Zemstvo work itself stimulated political thinking 
, and political opposition. The decisions of the Zemstvo- 
bodies were subject to a veto of the governor of the 
province, which power the latter used in a most arbitrary 
fashion. The decisions of the Zemstvo had to be carried 
out by the organs of the local police, who were not very 
anxious to serve the " meddlers." The Zemstvos were 
forbidden to form unions or leagues for common pur- 
poses, to call conventions or to enter agreements " as to 
questions pertaining to the general orders of the govern- 
ment or the limits of the jurisdiction of the bodies." The 
\j records of the Zemstvo sessions were not allowed to 
appear in print before they were censored by the local 
authorities. All this was a great annoyance to the 
Zemstvo and a hindrance to its activities. Clashes be- 
tween the Zemstvos and the government became one of 
the constant features of Russian public life. 

The government hated and feared the Zemstvos. It 
lacked courage to dissolve them even in the darkest days 
of reaction, but it made every effort to curb them and to 
impair their work. It forbade the Zemstvos to have 
control over the curriculum of the schools they financed; 
it took away from the Zemstvo-jurisdiction the pro- 
visioning of the hungry population in time of famine; 
it limited the budget of the Zemstvos; it vetoed 
over and over again the most reasonable decisions 
of the bodies. It went so far as to suspend individ- 
ual Zemstvos for a certain time. It sent senators to 
investigate the activities of the most " rebellious " 
Zemstvos, and the investigations resulted In rebukes for 
the Zemstvo presidents and the frequent discharge of 
Zemstvo officials. 

The Zemstvo, however, could not be curbed. The 
Zemstvo-leaders were not revolutionists, indeed; they 
did not preach violent methods, they did not believe in 


"mob rule''; they were peaceful, respectable, wealthy 
and cultivated. But they were opposed to absolutism. 
They saw the evils of the old regime in action, and they 
demanded a Constitution. 

One precious right was provided for by the Zemstvo- 
laws, the right of petitions, and the Zemstvo-leaders made 
constant use of this privilege which was denied to all 
the other citizens of the country. They bombarded the 
government with petitions. Sometimes they demanded 
local reforms, improvements in laws concerning their own 
jurisdiction. Often they petitioned the government to 
" crown the building,'' i.e., to create a Central Zemstvo, 
a representative body of the entire population. The 
character of those petitions may be seen from the follow- 
ing address presented to Alexander II by the Zemstvo 
of the province of Tver, 1878: 

" His Majesty the Emperor," the address reads, " in 
his careful attention to the welfare of the Bulgarian peo- 
ple liberated from the Turkish yoke, recognized the neces- 
sity of granting these people true self-government, invio- 
lability of personal rights, independent courts, and free- 
dom of the press. The Zemstvo of the Province of Tver 
dares to hope that the Russian people, who bore all the 
hardships of the [Russo-Turkish] war with so much 
courage, with such a deep affection for their Tzar, ' the 
Liberator,' will be allowed to enjoy equal privileges, 
which alone will make it possible for our people to enter 
the path of gradual, peaceful and lawful development." 

Similar addresses were sent by many other Zemstovs 
in 1878. They were framed in response to a speech of 
the Tzar urging the loyal nobility and other peaceful 
citizens to bring the revolutionary elements to reason 
("to save our erring youth from the pernicious road 
along which it is lured by unscrupulous persons "). 

The petitions and addresses were a thorn in the side 


of the administration. The Zemstvos, however, were 
not willing to forego this effective method of political 
agitation. Again and again they stirred the leaden quiet 
of Russia with their respectful petitions and demands. 
Their actions were not contrary to law, and could hardly 
be suppressed with the ferocity brought against real revo- 
lutionary actions. All the more shocking, therefore, was 
their effect on the guardians of the " established order." 

In 1894, after Nicholas II ascended the throne, a dele- 
gation of Zemstvo leaders, men known all over the coun- 
try, presented themselves to the Tzar asking him to 
grant a Constitution. Their tone was very moderate, 
indeed, and their plan of a Constitution all but demo- 
cratic. The young Tzar advised them and their con- 
stituency to ** give up absurd illusions," a phrase that 
soon became notorious in Russia. 

Towards the end of the nineteenth century the Zem- 
stvos, in accord with the growing dissatisfaction of the 
masses and in response to the revolutionary movements 
among the workingmen and the peasants, proceeded to a 
more vigorous opposition. The Zemstvo magazines and 
papers assumed a sharper tone. The decision of the 
Zemstvo representatives breathed a deeper criticism. 
They went so far as to call a secret convention of rep- 
resentatives of the various Zemstvos, which formulated 
a program and outlined uniform tactics for all the 
Zemstvos. This was the first of a series of illegal 
actions on the part of the very sedate, very respectable 
and law-abiding gentlemen of the Zemstvo. In 1902 
certain of these established in Stuttgart, Germany, a 
magazine Oswoboshdenie {Emancipation) under the 
editorship of Peter Struve. The magazine was for- 
bidden in Russia and had to be smuggled in in the same 
manner as revolutionary literature. It was widely read 
in liberal circles and largely contributed to the develop- 
ment of constitutional ideas among the moderate classes 
of society. 


Affiliated with the Zemstvos, partly influenced by them 
and oftener influencing their politics in the direction of 
more outspoken opposition, was the so-called '' Third 
Element," the intellectual employees of the Zemstvos, de- 
riving their nickname from the fact that they were the 
third component of the Zemstvo-bodies, next to the gentry 
and the peasants. A great number of these people, agri- 
culturists, physicians, veterinarians, nurses. Instructors, 
statisticians, appraisers, engineers, insurance-officers, 
librarians, were in charge of the various branches of the 
Zemstvo-work. They were in the closest contact with 
the local population, knew very well its needs, understood 
its psychology and often enjoyed its unlimited confidence. 
They were radical and revolutionary in the main, more 
radical and more revolutionary than the Zemstvo-leaders, 
in the same measure as they were less wealthy and less 
conspicuous. It is to their direct efforts that many a 
revolutionary step of the Zemstvos must be ascribed, 
and it is due to their constant agitation among the peas- 
ants that the spirit of rebellion spread like a contagious 
disease. The ** Third Element '* was a great source of 
revolutionary energy that could not be easily exhausted. 
Formally, it was not affiliated with any of the revolution- 
ary parties ; legally, it could not be so mercilessly prose- 
cuted as were the professional revolutionists. In reality 
it was a constant aid and comfort to the enemy of the 
absolutistic order. 

Social-Democratic intellectuals ; Social-Revolutionary 
intellectuals ; " Oswoboshdenie " intellectuals ; '* Third 
Element 'V intellectuals, — all these groups differed from 
each other, criticized each other's programs, bitterly 
opposed each other. All of them, however, were united 
in their condemnation of the old regime and in their readi- 
ness to struggle for a free democratic Russia. 

The intellectual groups were one of the most turbu- 
lent sources of the Great Revolution. C 


\ - — 


Capital, industry, labor, land, trade problems, finan- 
cial problems, labor-problems, agrarian problems, indus- 
trial organizations, labor-organizations, strikes, class- 
struggles, peasants' revolts, intellectuals' protestations, 
general unrest, growth of parties, factions, radical 
theories, incendiary literature, underground plotting, 
uniting, undermining, threatening. ... A chaos of 
facts, forces, deeds; a chorus of voices, impatient, shrill, 
commanding. A great world rising from the dust of 
ancient passivity. All this on one side. On the other, the 
Russian ** Samoderjavie '' (absolutistic order). 

As opposed to the multiplicity of modern life, the 
theory of government held by the rulers was very simple. 
One God in heaven, one Tzar on earth. All power is 
vested in the Supreme Power, the Absolute Monarch; all 
power emanates from him and finds in him its justification. 
The absolute monarch gives laws to his subjects, per- 
sonally or through servants following his orders ; he sets 
rules, appoints judges, punishes the disobedient; he has at 
his command an army of ofiicers, ministers, administra- 
tors, ranging from the highest advisers of His Majesty to 
the youngest policeman in the remotest village. All are 
responsible to him; all the machinery of the government 
forms one great net whose strings are gathered together 
in the hands of the monarch. One pull and the net will 
relax or tighten; one order and millions of servants all 
over the country will hasten to carry out the will of the 
Supreme Power. He, the Great One, knows all, sees all, 
cares for all, does everything for the benefit of all, and 



nobody can better understand the interests and the wel- 
fare of all. 

This is not an exaggeration. To the modern American 
reader it may sound like a voice from past centuries, from 
the catacombs of mediaeval Byzantium. For the theorists 
of absolute Russia there was nothing bizarre in these 

We will quote Katkov, the famous publicist who in 
his paper Moskovskya Vedomosti (the Moscow 
Courier, under Katkov's editorship from 1863 to 1887) 
gave a very clear expression of the views of the old 
regime and its aspirations. *' Katkov," says another sup- 
porter of the absolutistic order, Gringmut, ** was the first 
to come and declare that Russia was perfectly sound even 
under the existing order; that she was in no need of 
slavophilic or liberal reconstructions to be able to follow 
the road of Orthodoxy, Absolutism and Nationalism; 
that she needed only faith in herself, faith in her strength, 
faith in God and absolute obedience to the Tzar to be 
able to face both external and internal foes.'* * Katkov 
was one of the small number of able intellectuals defend- 
ing the cause of the Russian government, and his words 
may be taken for a true reflection of its theoretical con- 

** Government in Russia," he says, " means a thing 
totally different from what is understood by this term in 
other countries whence we borrowed some of our institu- 
tions without being able to adapt them to our concep- 
tions. In other countries, in England for instance, the 
term government is applied to the administration, i.e., 
to one of the two national parties which is in power 
while the other is in the opposition. We have no party 
government, and to look upon our affairs in the light of 
such views is simply absurd. In Russia, the government, 
in the highest sense of this word, is the Supreme Power 

*"In Memoriam of M. N. Katkov,'' a collection of articles, 1897. 
Quoted by V. V. Rosanov, Literary Sketches, p. 127. 


in action; It, therefore, cannot be understood as related 
to parties. In Russia, the government, inasmuch as it is 
the action of the Supreme Principle, towers above all, 
and no organization of a compulsory character can be 
independent of it. In our country there is no room for 
the fictitious assumption resulting from the history of 
other countries, namely that ' le rot regne, mais ne 
gouverne fas! The Russian absolute monarch both 
reigns and governs, and his power is totally free in its 
fundamentals, being embarrassed or limited by nothing. 
This is no doctrine or opinion of a circle of people ; it is 
the fundamental law on which the Russian Empire is 
based; it is the most concrete fact.'' * 

The Russian Tzar, in the opinion of the theorists of 
absolutism, is not only a supreme, unlimited and un- 
hampered ruler; he is more. " All power has its deriva- 
tion from God," says Katkov, '' the Russian Tzar, how- 
ever, was granted a special significance distinguishing him 
from the rest of the world's rulers. He is not only the 
Tzar of his land and the leader of his people, he is 
designated by God to be the guardian and custodian of 
the Orthodox Church. The Russian Tzar is more than 
an heir to his ancestors, he is a successor to the Caesars 
of the Eastern Empire, the builders of the Church and 
its conclaves, the founders of the very Creed of the 
Faith of Christ. With the fall of Byzantium, Moscow 
arose and the grandeur of Russia began. Herein lies the 
mystery of the deep distinction between Russia and all 
the nations of the world." f 

The Tzar and his absolute power are nothing foreign 
to the Russian people, the eulogists of absolutism de- 
clared. One cannot separate the Russian nationality 
from the Russian supreme power, Katkov writes. " Who- 
ever proclaims his true and sincere allegiance and devo- 
tion to the Russian monarch, must necessarily become 

* Moskovskya Vedomostt, November 8, 1882. 
'\ Ibid., September 7, 1882. 


amalgamated with the Russian people. The meaning 
and the character of the Russian national feeling is con- 
vincingly emphasized by the entire history of Russia. 
This is not a feeling of a hireling who performs his 
duties as long as it pays him to do so; this is a national 
power, a family feeling, created by our history, bred by 
our Church, a power which our nation cannot abandon 
without ceasing to be herself." * 

The Tzar is the only ruler. He Is wise and good and 
holy. But how about the people? Must they have only 
duties or are they also entitled to rights? The theory of 
absolutism does not hesitate in answering this question. 
Katkov's conception of the Russian Constitution is per- 
haps the most original of its kind. ** Our ethereal par- 
ties," he writes, ** our liberals and conservatives, con- 
servatives and liberals, give themselves much trouble 
about a * lawful order,' as they express it in their jargon. 
They want to reward us, Russian subjects, with political 
rights. Isn't this a futile effort? We, Russian subjects, 
are already in possession of what they want to grant us; 
we even have something more. They want to grant us 
political rights while we have political duties, which is 
more. In our duties, our rights are implicitly included, 
our duties are inseparably accompanied by rights. What 
we are obliged to do, we have a right to do. We do not 
need a Constitution; our Constitution is our oath of alle- 
giance which obliges us, Russian subjects, to care for the 
welfare of the Monarch and the nation. It is our duty 
to have this welfare at heart and to avert, as far as 
possible, any harm that could threaten the Monarch and 
the nation. Those who do not do so are, according to 
our ' lawful order,' criminals and traitors. Now, if 
every one of us has a duty to serve the throne and the 
fatherland, every one of us, of course, has also a right 
to do this duty." f 

This wonderful theory of " the right to do one's duty " 

^Moskovskya Vedomosti, April 22, 1867. 1[Ibid.t May 11, 1882. 


was the fundamental answer to all those who had heard 
about a magna charta libertatum and about government 
by the people for the people. 

Parliaments, party rule, elections, in short all political 
activities on the side of the people, were pictured by the 
theorists of absolutism as corrupt, vicious and^ selfish. 
" To leave to a collective mob the work of legislation, 
justice and administration would mean to leave it to the 
arbitrary will of an elemental power,'' Katkov writes. 
** The mob is not an individual, it has no conscience. The 
mob follows an external impulse. In the absence of a 
recognized leader responsible for its direction and its 
actions the mob necessarily follows an irresponsible 
driver. God save us in all our affairs from mob rule and 
irresponsible drivers.'' * 

It was the firm belief of the staunch absolutists that 
the misfortune of Russia is not the excess of power, but 
the lack of concentrated power in the hands of the ad- 
ministration. The government was too lenient, they 
said; it allowed too many and too important branches of 
administrative work to slip out of its hands. The judi- 
ciary, public education, the press are all public functions 
of a high significance, they alleged, and no public cor- 
porations, independent of the central government, should 
be intrusted with these functions. Katkov and his dis- 
ciples, therefore, bitterly attacked trial by jury, autono- 
mous universities, independent press-publications. Much 
as all these institutions were controlled, supervised and 
bridled by the administration, the mere existence of such 
institutions, the mere fact that they acted in accordance 
with written law, however oppressive the law might be, 
and not in accordance with the orders of superior persons, 
branded them in the eyes of the absolutists as pernicious 
and fraught with danger. 

There was nobody so eloquent, so deep in his scorn, 
so bitter in his denunciations, so equipped with profound 

* Moskovskya Vedomosti, September 4, 1882. 


knowledge, so gifted and elegant in his writings in defense 
of absolutism, as K. P. Pobedonostzev, the professor, the 
instructor of Tzar Nicholas II, the long years' Procurator 
of the Holy Synod and close friend of the royal family. 
His works may be looked upon as the deepest and most 
talented exposition of the absolutist ideas. Moreover, 
it seems that Pobedonostzev was sincere in his concep- 
tions and that his hatred for everything new was part 
of his mental make-up. 

There is a thick veil of gloom spread over the works 
of this highly interesting, many-sided thinker, the gloom 
of dark, ancient cathedrals, the solemn melancholy of 
judgment-halls, the sadness of old patriarchs observing 
new life as it breaks established rules and customs. This 
gloom is characteristic of all the defenders of the old 

What is a parliament? Pobedonostzev asks, and he 
answers : a parliament is ** the great falsehood of our 
time." ** One of the falsest political principles is the 
principle of government by the people, the idea, which 
unfortunately became established after the French revo- 
lution, that all power has its origin in the people and is 
based on the will of the people.*' * *' Parliament is an 
institution serving to satisfy the personal ambitions, per- 
sonal vanity and personal interests of the representa- 
tives.*' t '* Theoretically, the elected representative is 
supposed to be the favorite man of the majority, prac- 
tically, however, he is elected by the minority, some- 
times by a very scant minority, only because the minority 
represents an organized power, while the majority is like 
sand, loose and unorganized and therefore unable to 
resist a circle or a party." % ** The greatest evil of a 
constitutional order is the formation of a ministry on a 
parliamentary or party basis." § " Instead of the un- 
limited power of the monarch we have the unlimited 

♦The Moscoiv Collection, p. 31. i Ibid., p. 34. 
I Ibid., p. 38. § Ibid., p. 47- 



power of a parliament; but while the monarch can be 
thought of as personifying the unity of an intelligent will, 
the parliament lacks this quality, being dependent on the 
will of a majority, that is to say, on the exigencies of the 
vote/' * 

What is law? Pobedonostzev asks. Law is an obstacle 
in the path of an intelligent executive, — he answers. 
" The multiplicity and complexity '' of laws in parlia- 
mentary states ** becomes a hindrance not only for the 
citizens, but, what is more important, also for the admin- 
istrators called to put the law in practice." The admin- 
istrators, under those conditions, become embarrassed 
** in their striving towards truth and public weal." ** If 
a person whose duty it is to act, meets restricting instruc- 
tions on every step in the law itself and in its artificial 
formulations, if he is always exposed to the danger of 
overstepping a certain line of demarcation, then the ad- 
ministrator loses himself in doubts and is weakened by 
the very thing that was intended to furnish him with 
power." t 

What are liberty, fraternity, equality? They are a 
bait invented to lure the masses, says Pobedonostzev, 
they are a dangerous poison permeating the very blood of 
modern Europe, causing all the disturbances and all the 
political unrest. Liberty is a folly if not accompanied by 
the sense of duties. But the masses do not understand 
this truth. ** The masses are dissatisfied, indignant, rest- 
less, protesting, they overthrow institutions and govern- 
ments which have not kept their word, which have not 
realized the hopes aroused by these fantastic ideas; they 
create new institutions and again destroy them, they turn 
to new rulers who have lured them with the same de- 
ceptive words, and again they overthrow them, seeing 
that they are unable to keep their promise. A miserable 
and terrifying chaos in public institutions: waves of pas- 
sion surge and sweep everywhere; time and again the 

♦The Moscoiu Collection, p. 48. 1f Ibid., pp. 90-91. 










people are pacified by the magic sound of the words 
freedom, equality, publicity, popular sovereignty, and he 
who knows how to play skilfully and at the right time with 
these words becomes the ruler of the people." * 

Trial by jury is an absurd and dangerous institution, - 
declares Pobedonostzev. Trial by jury has not proved 
efficient and just even in England, where it is deeply 
rooted in the history of democratic institutions and where 
it gradually developed. In Russia, trial by jury is a 
foreign plant utterly unfitted to the character of the 
nation and her institutions. In Russia *' there is no firm 
leading judicial authority while a crowd of attorneys has 
rapidly developed " ; in Russia *' there is a motley crew of 
jurors drawn either in a haphazard way or artificially 
selected from the masses who have neither an understand- 
ing of the duties of a judge, nor the abihty to survey 
masses of facts requiring analysis and logical discrimina- 
tion. There is, lastly, a mixed crowd of observers who 
come into the courts as they come to a show, to amuse 
themselves in the midst of a dull and idle life. Is there 
any wonder that, in such an environment, the jurors ^ 
blindly follow one or the other attorney who has suc- 
ceeded in making the strongest impression? " f 

The press is one great falsehood, — charges Pobedo- -^ 
nostzev. *' Since the fall of mankind, falsehood has 
established itself in the world, in human words, actions, 
relations and institutions. Never before, however, did 
the father of falsehood invent such a tangle of lies and 
falsehood as we see in our turbulent times when so many 
false words are being spoken about truth. In a measure 
as the forms of public life become more complicated, new 
false relations develop and institutions saturated with 
falsehood spring into existence.*' One of these institu- 
tions is the public press. ** One tells us to beHeve that 
the voice of the magazines and newspapers, or the so- 
called press, is the expression of public opinion. Alas, 

♦The Moscow Collection, p. 106. -f Ibid., p. 56. 


this is a great lie, and the press Is one of the false in- 

' stitutions of our time." '' The worst scoundrel the 
noisiest chatter-box of the type of the unrecognized 
genius, the most unscrupulous man of affairs, greedy for 
profits, in possession of his own or borrowed money, can 
found a newspaper, a big newspaper, can whistle to a 
score of scribblers and feuilleton-makers who will come 
and stand by him, ready to discuss everything in the 
world; he can employ a squadron of reporters to serve 
up ignorant gossip and rumor; his staff is ready, and to- 
morrow he assumes the position of authority, judging 
everything and everybody, influencing ministers and 
rulers, art and literature, the stock-exchange and indus- 
try." * The journalist is the most irresponsible, the 

Jlimost cruel and indiscriminating judge in the world. *^ Yet 
this judicial power he assumed wilfully, without receiving 
his title from any higher authority, without giving proof 
of his abilities, without a test of personal trustworthiness 
and Impartiality, without being limited In his sentences by 
any forms of procedure and without a possibility for the 
convict to appeal to a higher court." f 

Public Instruction Is also one of the falsehoods of our 

*" times, according to Pobedonostzev. The public school 
must teach reading and writing and arithmetic and the 
fear of God and devotion to the Monarch. All other 
subjects are not only superfluous but dangerous. The 
people do not need the " encyclopedia of science taught 
in schools as the course of knowledge of the native coun- 
try " ; the people do not need *' physics, chemistry, agri- 
culture, medicine." | There Is no need of combatting 
superstitions, either. Superstition Is '' the natural, ele- 

'mentary power of Inertia, It is of the highest Importance. 
As ballast keeps the ship in equilibrium, so superstitions 
keep a nation In a stable position through the course of 
her history. To destroy them would mean to destroy the 

* The Moscoij Collection, pp. 60-61. f Ibid., p. 63. 
t Ibid., p. 71. 


social stability which is always necessary as a starting- ^ 
point for further movement." * With profound grief 
Pobedonostzev speaks of the modern teachers who have 
come to spread knowledge and to fight popular supersti- 
tions. They are not teachers, he says, they are servants 
of the evil spirit. " The evil spirit wanders among the 
simple and humble of our people, near and far; the evil 
spirit lures the sheep from the fold, appearing before 
them as a teacher, and leads them astray and drives them 
into the desert.'' f 

Pobedonostzev, with his broad knowledge and keen 
observer's eye, could not fail to see the signs of modern 
social evolution in Russia. These signs greatly disturbed 
him. He hated the new forms of life, he saw a great ^ 
calamity impending. *' Our life," he writes, " has become 
hideous, insane and false beyond belief, because all order 
and consistency have vanished from our development, be- 
cause all discipline of thought, feeling and morals has 
been relaxed among us. In public and family life all 
simple, organic relations have been shattered and de- 
stroyed, and their place has been taken by intruding in- 
stitutions and abstract principles, mostly false or falsely 
applied to life and practice." % 

Pobedonostzev was consistent. He lived in a world 
very different from that of reality. He saw a vision of 
a ** simple, organic " relationship between people. He 
was afraid of the new " insane " evolution. He 
hated laws and *' institutions " because he saw in them ^ 
a limitation of the free will of the Supreme Power. He 
felt a profound, almost mystic reverence for authority, 
for governmental power. God, the Monarch, and the 
people were one great unit in his conception. God, the 
source of all wisdom and all life; the Tzar, God's rep- 
resentative on earth; the people, to be guided by the 
supreme power of the Monarch, to be treated like chil- 
dren who can have no will and no understanding of their 

* Ibid., p. 72. t Ibid., p. 76. t Ibid., p. 96. 


own. '' The task of authority is great and holy. Author- 
ity worthy of its name inspires people and adds wings 
to their actions. To see authority of this kind, to feel 
its inspiring influence is a great joy for every one who 
loves the truth, who seeks for light and virtue." * 

Pobedonostzev was consistent. Life was against him, 
and he challenged life. Social evolution was undermining 
his cherished institutions, and he condemned social evo- 
lution. He was like a statue of black marble dug out 
from under mediaeval debris. Yet there was no flaw in 
his theoretical construction. 

Of far less consequence were his colleagues of the Rus- 
sian administration who were doing their utmost to " shat- 
ter simple, organic relations," to make life ^* hideous and 
insane," to introduce modern capitalism and modern so- 
cial classes in Russian life, and who. In spite of all, still 
clung to the old forms of government and still believed 
that they were reconcilable with the new social condi- 
tions. One of the most conspicuous of these administra- 
tors was Sergius Witte, for a long time Minister of 
Finance and in 1905 first Prime Minister under the new 
semi-constitutional system. Witte was anxious to hasten 
the development of capitalism, to construct railroads, to 
establish banks, to increase the Russian Import and ex- 
port. In short, to make the social structure of Russia 
similar to that of Western Europe. Yet, he believed, or 
tried to make believe, that the growth of social forces 
and the absolutistic form of government were not con- 
tradictory to each other. 

** The development of social forces, healthy and many- 
sided, not only does not contradict the principles of an 
absolute monarchy," he writes as late as 1899, "but, on 
the contrary, it gives the monarchy vitality and strength. 

" While the government concurs In the development 
of social activities, while it listens, as It were, to the 
throbbing of the social pulses, nevertheless. It does not 

* Ibid., p. 258. 


pass into the possession of society, but remains an intelli- 
gent power and a consistent authority of its own, always 
aware of its ends, always in command of the means to 
achieve its ends, and always knowing the direction toward 
which it is tending. 

" A government of this kind does not run the risk that 
its measures, inconsistent with the past, incompatible with 
the nation's character, would not fit the social level, that 
society would develop without it and outside of it, that 
the government would cease to be the highest leader of 
the sum total of the social movements. 

" Under a government of this kind, the work of social 
forces can be of a greater fruitfulness for the country 
and its population, than under a system where profes- 
sional politicians conduct public agitation, where in- 
dividuals are greedy for power and profitable positions, 
where political struggle marks the activities both of par- 
liament and local bodies. Ninety-nine per cent, of the 
population have nothing to do with those struggles : they 
have neither time, nor interest for them, nor are they even 
allowed to share in these contests." * 

We have thus surveyed the views of the various 
theorists, defending the absolute order. We have seen 
that those views ranged from the glorification of a patri- 
archal order, from the condemnation of each and all 
modern social activities, including a public press and pub- 
lic education, to a half-hearted admission of the fruitful- ^ 
ness of many-sided activities on the part of the people. 
Common to all these theories was the mistrust of the 
people, the idea that the *' mob " had no sense of jus- ^ 
tice, no understanding of its own interests, no discrimi- 
nation between good and evil. Not even a man like 
Witte, considered the most *' progressive '' and " Euro- 
pean '' among Russian administrators, would admit that 
the people were able to take care of themselves without 
the guidance of an absolute ruler. Common to all these 

* S. J. Witte, Absolutism and Zemstvo, pp. 209-10. 


theories was, further, the belief that a man in a uniform 
was the wisest and most eiBcient in public affairs, that 
elective bodies of a constitutional government pursue 
only their own selfish motives while an autocratic govern- 
ment is above parties, above passions, above political in- 
trigues. The underlying psychological foundation of all 
those conceptions was the desire for simplicity, quiet, 
smoothness. Nothing was more abhorrent to an ad- 
ministrator than commotion, unrest, acclamations, de- 
mands, the rise and fall of leaders and institutions. One 
must not think that all of the old administrators or their 
literary supporters were actuated by purely selfish reasons. 
Many a man among the ranks of the old regime was 
really shocked by the sight of constitutional Europe. 
Many had sincere reverence for autocratic power. The 
shadows of old serfdom were still lingering in most of 
the hearts of the Russian administrators, who were either 
sons of the land-owning nobility or closely related with it. 
" We are thine,'' was the phrase common with the peas- 
ants in addressing their masters prior to 1861. '^ We are 
thine," was the expression of deep resignation on the 
part of the governed. *' We are thine," — this spirit was 
the most ideal in the opinion of the adherents of old 
Russia. The country, in their opinion, was only a great 
domain of the monarch. The higher bureaucrats and the 
class into which they were born were the advisers of the 
monarch and the executors of his will. The " popula- 
tion " was only a horde of inferior characters allowed to 
go about their business and even amass riches, but never 
permitted to criticize or to oppose orders. All had to be 
quiet in sacred Russia. All had to be guided from one 
center. Everything had to run in strictly prescribed 


In theory absolutism was bad, in practice worse. The 
Russian practice reflected the " genuine Russian '* theory 
in the same way that a crooked mirror reflects an ugly 

There was something uncanny in the attitude of a 
Russian administrator towards the people. In private 
life, in relations with his equals he might be very friendly, 
very congenial, very human. In his office, in relation to 
his inferiors or to those depending on him, he would lose 
all human features, he would become a cruel, soulless 
fiend, haughty, contemptuous and hateful. 

Perhaps this was due to the fact that the Russian 
bureaucratic machinery was copied from that of the Prus- 
sian, the Prussian pattern being followed not only in the 
names of the offices and the uniforms of the officials, but 
also in strict automatic discipline, while hosts of Russian 
administrators were actually Germans, descending from 
the German nobility of the Baltic provinces and imbued 
with the spirit of the German Junkers. Names like 
Rennenkampf, Klingenberg, Stackelberg, Schwanebach, 
Schlippe, Rieman, Mien, Von Plehve, Von Wahl, names 
notorious for their slave-like devotion to autocracy and 
their inhuman attitude toward the Russian people, were 
by no means an exception among the ranks of the Russian 
administrators. It is worth while quoting a little docu- 
ment very well known in Russia. It is an order issued 
by the commander of the Semyonovski Guards Regiment, 
Colonel Mien, on December 15, 1905, authorizing an 
officer of the regiment, Colonel Rieman, to suppress the 



revolutionary movement along the Moscow-Kazan rail- 
road line. The document reads in part as follows : 

" Moscow. An expedition is herewith ordered, to start 
on December i6, along the Kazan railroad visiting the 
stations Perovo, Lubertzy and Kolomna. 

The commander of the expedition is to be Colonel 
Rieman I. 

The expedition is to consist of the following units of 
the Semyonovski Life-Guards* Regiment: 

9th Company, Captain Shvetzov, Sub-Lieutenants AI- 
bertov II and Makarov. 

loth Company, Captain Von Sievers I, Lieutenants 
Polivanov and Von-Vogt. 

nth Company, Second-Captain Nazimov II, Sub- 
Lieutenants Scharnhorst and Romanovski. 

1 2th Company, Captain Zykov and Lieutenant 

14th Company, Captain Von Schimroth I, Sub-Lieu- 
tenants Von Krusenstern and Von Minnig. 

15 th Company, Captain Meyer, Sub-Lieutenants 
Falysev and Nikanorov. 

2 guns. 

2 machine-guns. 

The aim of the expedition: to find the leaders, to 
annihilate the armed revolutionary militia. 

General directions : to make no prisoners and to act 
mercilessly. Every house from which a shot has been 
fired to be destroyed by fire or by artillery. 

Signed : 

Commander of the Regiment, Aide-de-Camp, 

Colonel Mien. 
Adjutant of the Regiment, 

Lieutenant Von Drummer.'' * 

It seems incredible ! A German commander of a regi- 

* Cited by V. Vladimirov, Punitive Expeditions, pp. 7-9. 


ment of imperial life-guards ordering a German colonel 
'* to make no prisoners and to act mercilessly '* in com- 
batting the Russian people, and giving for his aid German 
officers named Von-Sievers, Von-Vogt, Scharnhorst, Von- 
Schimroth, Von-Krusenstern, Von-Minnig and Meyer I 
Yet, such was the structure of the Russian bureaucracy. 
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the ** punitive 
expedition " under Colonel Rieman surpassed in cruelty 
and mean bloodshed all the horrors of all the other ex- 
peditions. And perhaps this considerable admixture of 
German elements in the body of the Russian admin- 
istration accounts for the deep contempt of the 
Russian " Tchinovnick " (officer) towards the Russian 

** The Governmental Germans " is a name applied to 
the Russian bureaucracy by a political genius, Alexander 
Hertzen, nearly half a century before the revolution. 
" As Saxony has it own little Switzerland," he writes, '* so 
we have our own, far from little, Germany. Its center 
Is in Petersburg, but the points of its periphery you find 
wherever there is the stiff collar of a uniform, the office 
and the secretary of an administrator. The real Ger- 
mans are only the kernel or the leaven; the majority con- 
sist of all sorts of Slavonic orthodox Russians, with our 
traditional fat noses and Mongolican jaws, learned peo- 
ple, ignoramuses, commanders of squadrons, journalists, 
and chiefs of departments. Of all the governmental Ger- 
mans, the Russian Germans are, naturally, the worst. 
The German German in the governmental machinery is 
sometimes naive, sometimes stupid, he has a condescend- 
ing attitude towards those whom he intends to humanize. 
The Russian German is narrow of mind and looks upon ^ 
the people with the disgust of a rich relative. Both the 
Russian and the German Germans feel themselves in- 
finitely superior to the people, both have a deep contempt 
towards everything Russian, both are convinced that the 
only way to handle us Is with the club. The German Ger- 


man does not always show this, though he hits unremit- 
tingly; the Russian German both hits and boasts." * 

The main reason, however, for the disdainful attitude 
of the Russian administrator towards the Russian people 

J was the social structure of the bureaucracy. We have 
already mentioned that it was mainly composed of mem- 
bers of the nobility, for centuries the land-owning and 
governing class. In the early years of the twentieth 
century, the average Russian administrator could say to 
himself that the fathers of the restless '' mob " had been 
slaves to his father fifty years ago and that the fathers 
of many intellectuals had been humble artisans or traders 
trembling in the presence of the powerful landlord. This 
social demarcation bred a spirit of seclusion, of arrogance 
and brutality. It is no exaggeration to say that the Rus- 

*^sian administrator looked upon the country as his private 
estate. The people were there to be governed and to 
pay; the army, to offer positions for his sons and the sons 
of his kin; the economic life, to offer new opportunities 
for governmental experiments, for positions, and, mainly, 
for revenue. Of course, everybody had to obey and to be 
" cheerfully devoted " to his rulers. 

In the methods of the Russian administration, there 
was something of the spirit of a foreign military power 
governing an invaded country. An invader is not sup- 
posed to know the occupied country. His is not the task 
of adapting himself to local conditions. The welfare of 
the population concerns him very little. His orders he 
receives from a center far remote. His chief endeavor 
is to please those who have sent him to the enemy coun- 
try and to have a good record. *' If my superior orders, 
I shall be even a midwife," — in this proverbial sentence 
there is the entire philosophy of the Russian " Tchinov- 
nick." He knows nothing about the needs of living 
human beings. He knows everything about the whims of 

*A. J. Hertzen, "Governmental Germans/* Kolohol (The Bell) 
No. 53, October, 1859. 


his superiors. He cares little about the results of his 
activities. He cares highly about the formal side of his 
duties. ^ *' There is a spirit, dead and deadening all it 
comes in contact with/' writes a conservative Russian 
writer, Menshikov. ** This spirit takes hold of you when 
you are not the master of your work, but a hireling, when 
you are under no proper control, when you have no re- 
sponsibility, when you are never in a hurry and never in- 
terested in the work you do, — in a word, when you are a 
Tchinovnick, one of our Russian Tchinovnicks. The 
paper-spirit that makes our bureaucrats walk in 
their sleep is like nitrogen; it makes breathing im- 
possible." * 

It was a very elaborate, highly centralized machinery, 
the Russian bureaucracy, but unlike other machinery, it ^ 
was not a means to an end, but the most important end 
to those engaged in its work. Prince Sergius Urusov, a 
high Russian administrator, was appointed in 1903 Gov- 
ernor of Bessarabia. In his Memoirs of a Governor he 
writes: ** I knew at that time as much about Bessarabia 
as I knew about New Zealand, if not less. Kishenev (the /l^' 
capital of Bessarabia) was known to me only by name, V 
and principally because for a long time the papers pub- 
lished particulars of the famous Jewish pogrom, April 
7-9, 1903. I was much more concerned with the external 
side of my new position, how to arrive, how to receive the 
visitors coming to my reception, how to become ac- 
quainted with my set of officials, whom to visit. These 
and similar questions of etiquette and representation wor- 
ried me much more than the difficulties of governing a 
province hitherto unfamiliar to me." f 

The same Prince Urusov tells a fact about his prede- 
cessor. Governor Raaben. Raaben had ordered the 
troops to go to the scene of the pogrom, but had failed 
to give orders as to the actual measures to be taken in 

*M. O. Menshikov, Letters to My Neighbors, February, 1905, p. 57. 
t Prince S. D. Urusov, Memoirs of a Governor, pp. 1-2. 

K. "/ 


handling the riots, leaving the responsibility entirely to the 
commander of the division. This was contrary to law 
and one of the causes of Raaben's removal. His negli- 
gence was severely criticized in the press and in society. 
After having received formal notice of his removal, he 
called in his assistant and asked in great irritation : '* For 
God's sake, can't you at last show me these rules about 
troops called to assist the civil authorities that are dinned 
into my ears I '' Raaben was supposed to know the rules 
both as a Governor and as former Colonel and Com- 
mander of an army-division. The same Raaben re- 
marked to Prince Urusov : " I am very sorry to be leaving 
the province now, just as I am beginning to be acquainted 
with it.'' This after having been Governor of Bessarabia 
for four years.* 

It was part of the system that the administrator should 
be detached from the population. It was the same system 
that managed to station soldiers not in their native places, 
in order that there should be no connection between the 
army and the local population. It was the same system 
that frequently removed civil officials from one place to 
another. The patterns of papers and the rules and regu- 
lations being similar for all provinces of Russia, there 
was no difficulty connected with such removals. The ad- 
vantage was that the official was prevented from getting 
into the bad habit of thinking himself a part of the local 

The machinery of the administration was, theoretically, 
highly centralized. In practice, the area of the country 
being very large and local control of the communities over 
officials being absent, centralization turned into its very 
opposite. Every governor was a sovereign by himself. 
Every official acted according to his own whims. '* I am 
your God and your Tzar," was the answer of the admin- 
istrator to complaining people. The law was enforced 
only when it was profitable for the administrator. This 

*Ibid., p. 33. 


system meant practical anarchy, disorder, chaos in public 
affairs. It was the worst kind of decentralization; it was 

In one point, however, the Russian official was very 
alert, very efficient, very prompt, — in quelling the rebel- ^ 
lious spirit. Practically, the entire governmental ap- 
paratus was adjusted to this function. Towards the end 
of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth cen- 
tury, all governmental activities became of minor impor- 
tance as compared with the task of searching for revolu- 
tionists and unearthing secret meetings or secret organiza- 
tions. Every measure of the government had this end in 
view, every official made it his principal thought. You 
might have been ignorant, clumsy, negligent, even crimi- 
nal in your administrative activities; nobody would take 
notice of it if you only were an ardent prosecutor of the 
** uplifters.'' After a while it became profitable to be a 
prosecutor of revolutionary ideas. It gave the official a 
standard, a name, recognition. And Russian adminis- 
trators surpassed each other in discovering and suppress- 
ing disorders. 

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Russian 
citizen was enveloped in a thick net of rules and regula- 
tions that made life intolerable. The press could not 
print a word that had not passed the red pencil of the 
government's censor. The censor not only rejected all 
news concerning political movements in Russia or all ^ 
articles criticizing the measures of the administration; he 
rejected everything that he, personally, did not like. He 
suppressed stories, fiction, which could be interpreted as 
praising liberty or scorning oppression. He killed popu- 
lar articles on history, literature, geography or even nat- 
ural history, where he thought he scented a " free spirit." 
He struck out whole passages, lines or single words in 
articles he permitted to be printed, or he added passages 
of his own. He often rejected book-reviews not in agree- 
ment with his taste, or theater-reviews unfavorable to an 



actress he happened to know. He suppressed news that 
might be unpleasant to local celebrities, rich people known 
in the community. He made the life of writers and edi- 
tors and publishers intolerable. The press groaned under 
the vicious and petty whims of irresponsible, uncultivated, 
official guardians. In 1899 the radical monthly Russ- 
koye BogatstvOy one of the leading magazines of the 
country, was suspended for a term of three months for 
having cited, word by word, an official document, an order 
of the Governor-General of Finland. Moreover, the 
issue, where the document was cited, had passed the hand 
of the censor before it was published, and the censor had 
taken no offence ! 

" Intensified vigilance '' reigned in the greater part of 
the country. This was a state similar to martial law. 
Under the " intensified vigilance " rule, search of private 
residences, the arrest and search of individuals could be 
undertaken by the police without warrant. The regular 
police was reinforced by two sorts of special political 
police : the gendarmerie and the so-called " Vigilance De- 
partments," secret offices having at their command hosts 
of detectives and agents provocateurs. 

The passport was the unavoidable companion of the 
citizen. You could not move a step without a passport. 
You had to register every time you changed your place. 
If you took a trip to the country, you had to register in 
the inn where you stopped. If you traveled, you had to 
register in every hotel. The registration stamps on your 
passports showed all your movements, and if asked by 
the police, you had to give an account of all you had 
done in the various places. If your passport had lapsed 
and you were careless enough not to renew it, the police 
could send you under guard to your native town where 
your passport was issued. This travel under guard, from 
town to town, from police station to police station, from 
prison to prison, sometimes lasting weeks and months, 
became a kind of natural duty of the Russian citizen 


whose sole crime was that his passport was not in full 
order. " The passport is the soul of a man," the proverb 
ran. As you cannot live without a soul, you cannot live 
without a passport. 

''Political Reliability'' was another feature of auto- 
cratic Russia. Records were kept of each citizen, made 
up of information delivered by the secret service. The 
records related to the political views of the persons. A 
man or a woman reported to be of liberal or radical 
aspirations, was noted ^* unreliable.'' Any citizen wishing 
to perform public or semi-public work or to enjoy the 
services of a teaching institution, had to provide himself 
with a ** Certificate of Political Reliability '' from the gov- 
ernor of his province. Certificates of this kind were re- 
quested from students entering college, from college 
graduates passing their state-board examination, from 
physicians, lawyers, dentists, teachers opening an office 
or a school or taking a position, from publishers and edi- 
tors of papers, from book-sellers and librarians, from 
agriculturists, veterinarians, nurses and other profes- 
sional folk employed by the Zemstvos or by the city-ad- 
ministrations, from persons engaged in the public service 
or in the civil service, etc. A person refused a ** Certifi- 
cate " could not be active in any of these and many other 
occupations. Nothing was more annoying to intellectual 
Russia than this arbitrary system of " Certificates.'' A 
person refused a '* Certificate " could not even complain, 
the ** Vigilance Departments " being secret ofiices with 
secret information and their decisions being final. 

The only habeas corpus of the Russian citizen was the 
institution of bribery. One must not imagine that bribery 
was merely obnoxious. It gave relief. It slackened the 
grip of petty and stupid regulations. It was perhaps the 
most human institution among the barbed-wire entangle- 
ments of the Russian order. The helpless, cornered citi- 
zen was willing and eager to pay and be left alone. It 
goes without saying that the Russian administrators pur- 


posely increased the number of restricting rules In order 
to be able to make exemptions and get paid. 

As matters stood, there was actually not one Russian 
official inaccessible to bribery. Everything depended 
upon the size of the sum or the nature of the bribe, for 
there were many sorts. The writer of these lines knew 
a police officer whose salary was 300 rubles ($150) a 
year. Yet this officer lived in a beautiful house with 
luxurious furniture, kept a private teacher for his chil- 
dren, rode through the streets of the town in an elegant 
carriage drawn by two expensive horses, and had a 
saddle-horse besides; in short, he led the life of a very 
wealthy man. This was no secret to his superiors. On 
the contrary, when the superior, the county-officer, visited 
the town, our officer would give him a splendid reception 
with exquisite dishes and champagne. In fact, the salary 
of many officers was so small that they simply could not 
live on it if they had no illicit income. It was a tacit 
assumption that the main source of income was not the 
salary but the ** side-issues,'' and one spoke of them 
frankly. The paper-mill and the saw-mill the writer of 
these lines was connected with had among its regular 
items of expense monthly payments to the district and 
county police. So did all other industrial concerns of the 
county and all business-men. Prince Urusov tried to make 
an estimate of the sums received yearly by the Bessara- 
bian police in regular payments. The total, he writes, 
amounted to over a million rubles. In this sum were not 
included all sorts of bribes from real criminals and other 
irregular sources of official income. And yet Bessarabia 
is not an industrial province and its population is not very 
large. ** In defense of the Bessarabian police I must 
add," says Prince Urusov, *' that in the estimation of a 
keen expert who himself served in the office of the Peters- 
burg chief of police, the police of the capital receive 
yearly about six millions of rubles in regular payments, 
i.e., in payments which are made not because of a viola- 


tion of the law, but merely because landlords, store- 
keepers, factory-owners, restaurateurs, etc., exist. The 
tolls for actual violations of the law were not taken into 
account because no estimate can be reached." * 

A special source of revenue were the Jews and the., 
other oppressed nationalities whose rights were still more 
limited and their human dignity still more violated, and 
who could not draw breath without paying the mas- 
ters of their destinies. It would make a very pa- 
thetic book were one to tell the story of the Jews, 
the Poles, the Lithuanians, the Ukrainians, the Finns, 
the Letts, etc., under the old regime. The theory 
of absolutism demanded that those nationalities should 
be Russianized, in accordance with the psychological in- 
clination of the bureaucracy towards centralization and 
uniformity. Oppressive measures, however, barred many 
of the non-Russian nationalities from Russian schools 
and kept them from mixing with the Russians in various 
walks of life. All this filled the nationals with an in- 
flexible hatred of old Russia. 

An administration of this kind was neither willing nor 
able to understand social movements or political aspira-'" 
tions. To the Russian ** Tchinovnick," everything was 
** disorder." A petition of peasants, a strike of working- 
men, a meeting of intellectuals, a lecture, a discussion, — 
all was ** disorder," created by malicious agitators to 
violate law and peace. College students dissatisfied with 
their curriculum held a meeting to discuss it, — this 
was " disorder." Shop-girls decided to ask a raise in 
wages and elected two representatives to deal with the 
employer, — this was " disorder." Teachers organized 
evening classes for adults and talked to their pupils about 
the political order in various countries, — this, of course, 
was '* disorder." Every activity, every social work was 
*' disorder." The rule was that anything that was not 

* Prince S. D. Urusov, Memoirs of a Governor, p. 53. 


expressly permitted, was forbidden, and everything that 
was forbidden had to be suppressed by armed force. 

The administration saw the growing dissatisfaction, it 
felt the surging unrest. Yet it imagined that this was 
only the work of evil-minded individuals who ought to 
be captured and put in prison. The number of " evil- 
minded ^' grew in alarming proportions, from thousands 
to hundreds of thousands, from little groups into tremen- 
dous organizations, and still the bureaucracy blamed the 
"evil-minded" agitators, the " uplifters '*; still it con- 
centrated all its attention and all its wits on putting these 
dangerous individuals into prison. 

To the historian it seems like a manifestation of total, 
blindness that the powerful Minister Witte should in 
1899 have recommended the curbing of the Zemstvo and 
the strengthening of the administrative power. ** No 
further expansion of the activities of the Zemstvo should 
be tolerated," he urges; " a clear line of demarcation must 
here be drawn which under no circumstances should it 
be permitted to overstep. Simultaneously, every effort 
should be made to organize the administration of the 
government on an adequate and efficient basis, remember- 
ing that he who is the master of the land ought to be 
also the master of the administration." * 

Nowhere perhaps is the blindness of a Russian ad- 
ministrator exhibited in a more startling fashion than 
in the following document written by Prince Svyatopolk- 
Mirski. Prince Svyatopolk-Mirski, it must be remem- 
bered, was a very human, honest, well-meaning adminis- 
trator. In his capacity as the chief of the Russian 
gendarmerie he, in 1901, investigated the causes of un- 
rest among the workingmen of Petersburg. In his re- 
port he states that the causes of the success of the revolu- 
tionary propaganda among the industrial workingmen 
lay partly in the very conditions of their life. " Chief 
among those conditions," he says, ** is the fact that the 

* S. J. Witte, Bureaucracy and Zemstvo, p. 212. 


workingmen are not secured in case of old age or inability 
to work on account of sickness.'' He further states that 
a new type of workingman has become common during 
the last few years. *' Our good-natured Russian fellow 
has turned into a peculiar type of half-ignorant intellec- 
tual, who deems it his duty to defy religion and family- 
bonds, to scorn the law, to disobey officials and mock at 
the authorities." Workingmen of this type, he admits, 
have the greatest influence over their comrades. The 
workingmen of Petersburg, the report relates further, 
have a remarkable thirst for knowledge, they crowd 
schools for adults, they devour every bit of printed mat- 
ter available in the popular libraries. This eagerness for 
reading and learning, he says, accounts for the spread of 
secret revolutionary literature. 

Prince Svyatopolk-Mirski's report shows that he had 
observed the facts correctly: a new type of workingmen, 
a new spirit, a dissatisfaction due to bad conditions. 
What means could be recommended to remedy the evil? 

Prince Svyatopolk-Mirski recommended that the 
schools for adults should be put under control and that 
a special patriotic paper should be published for the work- 
ingmen containing labor news of an innocent ** neutral '' 

.This bit of administrative ingenuity was only equaled 
by the measure forbidding the newspapers in times of 
famine to mention the words *' famine," "scurvy" or 
** starvation." 

*N. Simbiroski, The Truth About Gapon, pp. 26-28. 



How does a revolution begin? 

The author of this book has been closely related with 
Russian political life ever since 1900; he remembers the 
time when nothing stirred in the great Empire; he wit- 
nessed the growth of political movements, the deepening 
of dissatisfaction among the masses, the stiffening of re- 
sistance; he was in the midst of the great wave that 
swept the country in 1905 and 1906; yet, the ** how " 
of the starting-points of the revolution remains a mys- 
tery to him. In what subtle ways did the spirit of rebel- 
lion creep at the same moment into the minds of so many 
individuals who formed that abstract aggregation called 
a *' social group " only in the eyes of the sociologist while 
in their own eyes each and every one was a microcosm and 
the center of the universe? What was the power that 
transformed the mere discontent of millions into revolu- 
tionary determination, and revolutionary determination 
into revolutionary action? We have surveyed the social 
forces of Russia before the revolution ; we have seen the 
causes that tended towards social and political upheavals. 
Yet the moving forces remain hidden, and neither the his- 
torian nor the contemporary observer can say with assur- 
ance that under the same political and social conditions 
the country might not have remained quiet for another 
decade or more. 

This simultaneous spreading of revolutionary ideas; 
this miraculous change in the minds and in the attitude of 
individuals, this growing willingness of many to sacrifice 
their lives for what had suddenly become their highest 
ideal, this response of large nlasses to the call of a few 




leading organizations, is to the observer the most beautiful 
yet also the most inexplicable public phenomenon ever be- 
held. We shall have glimpses of this '' how '' in the 
third and fourth parts of this work where individual revo- 
lutionists will pass before our eyes. In this part we will 
only try to give an account of the most significant events 
of the stormy years 1905 and 1906, the years of the 
Great Revolution. 

Prior to 1905, beginning with 1898-99, there were 
numerous and picturesque movements that created a great 
sensation, shaking the Russian citizen from his apathetic 
drowsiness, and causing the government to tighten its 
grip over the country. All these movements, however, 
seemed to be rather of a sporadic character, and only 
the ardent believers in the revolution, who unconsciously 
projected their burning desires into reality, considered 
them harbingers of a very near storm. 
/The winter of 1898-99 was all astir with the general 
Strike of college students. The rumor of a dark prison 
tragedy culminating in suicide on the part of a po- 
litical prisoner, had spread in intellectual circles. 
The fact was not more outrageous than numerous 
other facts passed over in silence. Yet this tragedy 
set the universities aflame. Meetings were held in the 
classrooms, revolutionary resolutions were passed, the 
students of Petersburg refused to attend the lectures. 
In a short time the movement spread over many other 
^ universities. The students demanded political reforms, 
including academic freedom and autonomy. The author- 
ities shut the universities for an indefinite time and sent 
the students home to their parents. Several thousand 
young men returned to the country relating the story of 
^the outrage. In the winter of 1900-01 the movement 
started again. The students called meetings, protested 
vigorously against academic and political measures of the 
government, protesting simultaneously against unpopular 
teachers. The writer of these lines was then a student 


in the University of Kiev. As he recollects it now, there 
was no more reason for excitement that year than at any 
other time. Yet the students were restless. Numerous 
secret organizations — province-brotherhoods— conducted 
the movement. In a measure, the student-movement was 
a political manifestation along the lines of the least 
resistance, it being the practice of the administration to 
expel only the revolutionary students from the university 
and to put the leaders for a few months into prison, while 
participation in revolutionary labor-movement rendered 
one liable to years of imprisonment and exile in Siberia. 
In the winter of 1900-01, however, the government de- 
cided to punish the students severely. For an innocent 
political meeting in the University of Kiev, where no acts 
of violence were committed, we, over 400 young men, 
were tried by a special commission and over 200 were sen- ^ 
tenced to serve one year in the army. We were not ex- 
pelled from the University, we were only sent for a year 
to the barracks ** for correction.'* Among the new re- 
cruits there were many who had been exempted from 
military service, many who were weak, consumptive, 
afflicted with heart-disease, one of my friends even a crip- 
ple on criitches. Yet all were sent to the army. The 
measure was by no means clever. It irritated the most 
loyal citizens and sent tears into many a kind-hearted 
woman's eye. The 200 odd boys, dressed half in stu- 
dents' uniforms and half in military attire, despatched 
over the country in all directions to the regiments to 
which they had been assigned, were an unusual sight 
indeed. We were received at many stations with cheers 
and compassion. The army itself was amazed to see 
this peculiar set of recruits. The more sensible officers 
and soldiers were dissatisfied to see the army, the pride 
of the nation, turned into a place of correction. Yet, in 
the main, it was perhaps an advantage for the army to 
come in contact with so many revolutionary youths. It , 
stirred the imagination and aroused questions. 


Directly connected with the student-movement was 
a street demonstration in Petersburg in^ the spring of 
, 1 90 1 and the assassination of the Minister of Public 
Instruction, Bogolepov, by a student. 

After 1900, the movement in the universities became a 
permanent feature of Russian political life, time and 
, again co-operating with the labor-movement and resulting 
in street demonstrations. 

The labor-movement was stronger in the Western por- 
tions of the Empire, among the Jews, the Poles, the Letts, 
but Social-Democratic and Social-Revolutionary organi- 
zations existed practically in all industrial centers. The 
revolutionary organizations were coming in ever closer 
contact with the working-population, spreading revolu- 
tionary literature, organizing industrial strikes as a means 
of bettering the conditions of labor, calling secret meetings 
and, on rare occasions, organizing street demonstrations. 
It must be remembered that under the reign of bureaucracy, 
all peaceful social activities necessarily became of revolu- 
tionary significance. A strike for higher wages is in itself 
a peaceful undertaking; the strikers, however, being per- 
secuted as criminals and rioters and the leaders being 
punished with imprisonment, every strike Invariably 
' turned into a protest against the bureaucratic order. A 
lecture on the merits of a constitutional order or a meet- 
ing discussing the necessity of labor legislation con- 
tains hardly any elements of rebellion; but a meeting or a 
lecture of this kind held in a secret place, in the fields 
or in the woods, with revolutionary watchmen standing 
guard, with audience and lecturer assembling by stealth 
under all possible precautions, with police and gen- 
darmerie searching the fields or the woods to break up 
the meeting with bayonets and whips, becomes a daring 
revolutionary act. Still more daring was a street demon- 
stration under the red flag. Cossacks and mounted police 
were ready to tread the demonstrators under the feet of 
their horses ; saber and gun and whip worked mercilessly, 


and hardly any demonstration passed without leaving a 
number of wounded. 

These measures on the side of the government, under- 
taken with blind obstinacy and carried out with ever- 
growing ferocity, were by no means able to quell the 
movement. They only bred the spirit of hatred and gave 
birth to a renewal of terroristic acts, especially by mem- 
bers of the Social-Revolutionary Party. In the spring 
of 1902, the Minister of the Interior, Sypyagin, was- 
assassinated by a member of this party, a Kiev student, 
who had served his term of correction in the army. The 
student was sentenced to death and executed. The same 
spring. Governor Von Wahl ordered the participants in 
a May demonstration in Vilna to be flogged. One of 
the workingmen afterwards made an attempt on his life 
and was hanged. 

In the spring of 1902, the peasants were heard from. 
In the provinces of Poltava and Charkov sixty-nine estates 
of large landowners were looted, set on fire and partly 
destroyed by revolting peasants. 

The movement was not organized at all. It started 
with elemental force, spread like wild-fire from village to 
village and in a few days turned thousands of humble 
villagers into furious rebels. The procedure was nearly 
everywhere alike. The peasants came to the landlords, 
complained that times were hard, and asked to be given 
grain and fodder free of charge. The landlords not 
being inclined to part with their property, the peasants, 
sometimes several hundred in number, practically entire 
communities, assembled, opened the granaries and took 
all they could get hold of. From the houses of the land- 
lords pieces of furniture, sewing-machines, women's 
dresses and kitchen utensils were taken by the peasants. 
Everything else they destroyed and burned. The hordes 
of rebels acted with full assurance : " So it is written in the 
booklets," many of them said (evidently they meant the 
revolutionary leaflets). Many peasants spoke of a " new 


law " permitting them to divide the land among the " peo- 
ple." '' Such is the will of His Majesty the Tzar/' was 
an opinion frequently uttered. When detachments of 
cavalry and infantry appeared on the scene of the re- 
bellion, the peasants did not believe the soldiers would 
fire. ** We are no Chinese/' they said, " we are Ortho- 
dox Russian people." Yet the soldiers did fire, two 
peasants were killed, many were wounded, and numbers 
of rebels were punished with rods in the streets of the 
villages; 1,098 Mujiks were arrested, and an indemnity 
of 800,000 rubles was imposed on the rebellious com- 

It is worth while quoting one of the witnesses at the 
trial of the rebels. The witness, a village-reeve, who had 
not participated in the rebellion, stated: ** The share of 
land held by a peasant in my village is not more than 
two dessatin (5.4 acres). Last year the crops were bad 
and towards spring there was a shortage of bread. We 
had very little food for our families and no fodder for 
the cattle. . . . The rent is going up from year to year. 
Five years ago we used to pay for a dessatin 6-8 rubles; 
to-day we pay 12-19 rubles for a dessatin of the same 
quality. As to our own land, it is mostly sandy and in- 

It was sheer necessity, the elementary hunger of the un- 
reasoning savage, that threw the peasants upon the rich 
estates. Here they saw foodstuffs in abundance. Here 
they could appease their hunger. The allusion to the 
** will of the Tzar " and the *' new law " was only a 
justification of this primitive impulse. Back In the minds 
of the rebels there may have lingered the old peasant 
belief: ** The earth is God's and the people's." 

It must be noted that the extremist revolutionary party 
working among the peasants, the party of the Socialist- 
Revolutionists, did wof urge the peasants to attack estates, 
rob and burn. This they did of their own accord. 

The government saw that something must be done. It 


organized a special '* commission to investigate the needs 
of the agricultural industry '' with branches in every 
county. Contrary to its custom, it allowed representa- 
tives of the Zemstvo and other persons known in the 
communities, to join thfe commissions along with the 
governmental officials. These commissions gave the lib- 
erals and radicals of the Zemstvo an opportunity to ex- 
press their views in public. The majority of the com- 
missions, though strictly controlled by local authorities, 
recommended progressive measures: adherence to the 
law on the part of the administration, decrease in taxes, 
expansion of the peasants' land-holdings through state- 
aid, etc. Some commissions were almost revolutionary 
in their assertions and sharp in their accusations against 
the government. 

The proceedings of the commissions (in session 1902- 
03) occupied for a time the center of public attention. 
The commissions were *' legal *' bodies. Their members 
were no " uplifters." Yet they revealed with convincing 
clearness the crisis in Russian life. They strengthened 
the constitutional aspirations of the intellectuals and gave 
a new stimulus to the Zemstvo opposition. It was due 
to this commission that a secret convention of Zemstvo 
representatives was held in 1902, its aim being to out- 
line a uniform policy for all the Zemstvo members par- 
ticipating in the commissions. 

Great as was the political influence of the proceedings 
of the commission-branches over the country, its role in 
relieving the agrarian crisis was next to naught. The 
government did not like the measures urged by the com- 
mission. On March 12, 1903, it abandoned the mutual 
responsibility of the village-communities for the redemp- 
tion-payments. This was a shadow of a reform, and gave 
little comfort to the peasants. The following May, as 
if to balance the concession, the government established 
in the villages a mounted constabulary with unlimited 
power " to safeguard decency, peace and order." The 


constabulary was more than a shadow; it greatly dis- 
comfited the peasants. 

Rural Russia was hardly satisfied. As early as April, 
1 90 1, a press correspondent writes from the province of 
Voronesh : " The air is charged with evil bodings ; every 
night the horizon is illuminated with distant fires; a 
bloody fog is creeping over the earth, — it is as if a storm 
were impending, — it is so hard to breathe and to live. 
The Mujik is sullenly silent, and when he begins to talk, 
he makes you shiver.'* 

In 1903-04 his mood was still less cheerful. The year 
1902 witnessed peasant revolts in the provinces of Cher- 
son, Yekaterinoslav, Bessarabia, Tchernigov, Saratov, 
Perm, Volyn. The reverberation of these revolts was 
felt far and near. 

Simultaneously, the labor movement was growing in 
scope. Revolutionary ideas were finding their way into 
practically every factory. Demonstrations of working- 
men became more frequent In the summer of 1903 a 
wave of political strikes, accompanied by large mass- 
meetings, rolled suddenly over Southwestern Russia, call- 
ing tens of thousands of workingmen from their factories 
and shops. The strike, joined in by many railroad em- 
ployees and street-car conductors, was unexpected and un- 
prepared. It was one of those spontaneous outbursts 
that nobody could foresee and nobody was able to direct. 
It died out as suddenly as it sprang up. It only indicated 
that a process of great momentum was going on in the 
depths of the masses. 

The revolutionary underground press was now work- 
ing strenuously, feverishly, criticizing, commenting, 
spreading revolutionary news. Life was becoming color- 
ful, exciting, absorbing, yet the " legal '* public press, 
half-strangled by the censor, could not mention any of 
the most thrilling political events, nor could it comment 
on the most vital timely topics. It, therefore, was a con- 
venience for the public to learn the truth from under- 


ground publications. Revolutionary literature began to 
find its way among all classes of Russian intellectuals as 
well as into the heart of the masses. The police and the 
gendarmerie had their hands full, searching private resi- 
dences, arresting presses, confiscating loads of literature. 
In spite of all this, the press grew incessantly. The most 
widely known publications of this time were the Eman- 
cipation, organ of the Zemstvo group of a similar name; 
the Spark, organ of the Social-Democrats, and the 
Revolutionary Russia, organ of the Social-Revolutionists. 
Proclamations were issued on every occasion, numbering 
hundreds of thousands of copies yearly. 

The government had one ingenious method of averting 
public attention from the most vital problems: a pogrom., 
In April, 1903, it staged the pogrom in Kishenev, Bes- 
sarabia, where scores of Jews were killed and mutilated 
by the mob and entire streets were looted. The pogrom 
was unprecedented in cruelty and bloodshed. It aroused 
a storm of indignation abroad, but in Russia itself hardly 
any comment was permitted. The progressive Russian, 
however, easily recognized the mysterious hand behind 
the mob. We all knew that police officers were every- 
where connected with the underworld, with criminals, 
ex-convicts and other representatives of the slums. We 
knew that one hint from the police was sufficient to let 
loose all these " dark forces." We had heard about 
proclamations spread in the saloons and cheap restaurants 
of Kishenev summoning people *' to take the law in their 
own hands." We were fully aware, on the other hand, 
that where the government really wished to stop riots or 
mob robberies, it succeeded in a few moments. In 
Kishenev, the pogrom lasted for three days, and nothing 
was done by the civil or military authorities to stop 
murder. Putting these facts together, it was easy to draw 

Autocratic Russia hardly gained in prestige by the 

Kishenev slaughter. 




Early in 1904 the Russo-Japanese war began. 

The war was unpopular. Nobody believed Russia had 
vital interests to defend in the Far East. The mystery 
covering all the actions of the Russian administrators in 
Manchuria, and the fact that the press was never per- 
mitted to criticize those actions, only added to the mis- 
trust. In the first days of the war, small patriotic street- 
demonstrations were arranged, which aroused no enthu- 
siasm. Soon the consequences of the war began to be 
felt: business underwent a crisis, credit fell off, taxes be- 
came heavier. The toll of human lives was keenly felt 
in agriculture. 

Later the defeats began, shameful, humiliating de- 
feats. The attack on the Russian fleet in Port Arthur, 
the battle of Yalu, the Liaoyang battle, the Mukden 
battle, the fall of Port Arthur, the destruction of the 
battle-fleet near Tsushima, all this made a tremendous 
impression on the Russian people. Here were no 
theories; here were facts. Russia had a population of 
a 30 millions; her budget amounted to 2 billions of rubles; 
she had at her disposal 1,600 battalions and 5,300 field- 
pieces. Japan had a population of 45 millions and a 
budget of less than 60 millions of rubles, and her army 
was smaller. At the beginning of the war oflicial Russia 
was certain of victory. ** We shall cover them with our 
caps!" proudly declared the patriotic press. Even the 
liberal opposition believed in an ultimate victory of Rus- 
sian arms. After all, Japan was only a little mops try- 
ing to bite the leg of a huge St. Bernard dog, wrote 
the Courier of Europe in the spring of 1904. Many 



other liberal publications were of the same opinion. 
The revolutionists alone predicted defeat, but their pre- 
dictions were based merely on general assumptions of 
Russian administrative corruption. 

The events surpassed all expectations. The Russian 
army, the iron hand of the great Empire, the pride of 
autocratic Russia, turned out to be as brittle as clay. 
The commanders had no knowledge of the country, no 
maps, no plans laid out, no courage or foresight. The 
soldiers were ill fed, ill treated and ill kept in far, in- 
hospitable Manchuria. Criminal negligence was equaled 
only by criminal ignorance. Stories, one wilder than the 
other, were told in Russia, characterizing the helpless- 
ness, inefficiency and cruelty of the ** men higher up,'' 
and every story proved to be true. On September 19, 
1904, General Kuropatkin, the commander-in-chief, issued 
an order to the army. ** Seven months ago,'* the order 
says, ** the enemy treacherously attacked us without a 
formal war declaration. Many heroic deeds have since 
been performed by the Russian armies on land and sea, 
which the Fatherland may be justly proud of. Still the 
enemy is not yet prostrated in the dust before our feet. 
On the contrary, he cherishes thoughts of a complete 
victory over us. Excess in numbers and favorable loca- 
tion have hitherto given him a free hand in choosing the 
time and place for attacks. Now, however, the long- 
looked-for moment has arrived when we can advance and 
launch an attack on our foe. The time has arrived when 
we will compel the Japanese to obey our will. The forces 
of our Manchurian armies are strong enough for a bold 
offensive." * A few days later General Kuropatkin took 
the offensive and suffered a dreadful defeat, losing 50,000 
men and 43 cannon. 

All this was a revelation for Russia. Not even the 
revolutionists had believed the decay of the old regime 

*M. Povlovich, "Our Foreign Relations and the Russo-Japanese 
War." In the series Social Movements in Russia, Vol. II, p. 36. 


would become so apparent. Had the war been conducted 
on Russian territory, the defeats might have aroused 
hatred towards the enemy and, perhaps, despair. As it 
was, thinking Russia experienced only a malicious glad- 
ness at the sight of the blunders of the hated adminis- 
tration. The war was a practical method of political 
instruction, a very expensive object lesson as to the in- 
herent meanness of irresponsible bureaucracy. 

Thinking Russia realized now that a modern army was 
part and parcel of the people, that where social forces 
were hampered in their development, armed forces could 
hardly be effective. The formidable Russian Tchinovnik, 
the rigid disciplinarian, the strict pedant, the horror of 
his subordinates, suddenly lost his prestige. He could not 
amount to much if he was unable to preserve the honor 
of the army. A paper like Novoye Fremya, usually a 
mouthpiece of the administration, wrote in December, 
1904 : ** In heaven's name, do not imagine that we mean to 
suggest that there is any lack of administrators, any lack 
of rigor. We have enough administrators, and too much 
rigor; all this, however, is no security, it is only a fiction 
of security. In Europe things are different. There, the 
bureaucracy itself is vigilantly guarded by the thousand 
eyes of the public Argus. . . . Where the nation con- 
trols the affairs of the state, serious abuses are unthink- 
able, inactivity or idle, useless activity impossible. In 
Russia, on the contrary, the pernicious custom prevails 
of " washing our linen at home." This sluttishness is the 
very heart of our tragedy. Every one of our departments 
is a ** home " by itself, air-tight and admitting nobody. 
For generations and generations the dirty linen has ac- 
cumulated in those *' homes " stuffing every corner and 
thwarting the finest machinery. Every department is a 
kind of Port Arthur, inaccessible to the public. What 
has the public known about our battle-fleet? Nothing.^ 
Every effort to substitute a certain amount of knowledge 
for ignorance has suffered a lamentable fate." 


The Novoye Fremya, in spite of its servility, was 
very sensitive to the prevailing trends of mind in tKe 

Yet, in the first months of the war, the public was silent. 
It seemed to be in a pensive mood. It had to digest the 
events. It observed, it listened, it devoured the news- 
papers, it discussed the facts in private circles, but it did 
not stir. Rural Russia became also an ardent reader of 
the press. Village and town alike were absorbed in the 
great drama. 

The grip of the administration was tighter than ever. 
Von Plehve was now Minister of the Interior and dic- 
tator. He put his heavy hand on the Zemstvos, filled the 
prisons with new hosts of political suspects, curbed the 
press with unparalleled fierceness, spread a net of agents 
provocateurs among the revolutionists and liberal society, 
increased the burdens of restrictions for the Finns, the 
Poles, the Jews. Russia was going through the severest 
reaction she had experienced since the reign of Alexander 
III. Plehve^s idea was to nip every movement in its 
bud, to keep dead silence everywhere. And he succeeded. 
The Russia of early 1904 seemed to be much more re- 
strained than the Russia of two years before. 

In the midst of this silence a tremendous event occurred. 
On July 15, 1904, Sazonov, the Socialist-Revolutionist, 
threw a bomb under the wheels of Von Plehve's carriage. 
The dictator was dead. 

The impression created by this single act was enor-* 
mous. Attempts on the lives of high officials were at 
that time by no means unusual. Early in June, 1904, 
Bobrikov, the Governor-General of Finland, was assassi- 
nated by a revolutionist. Many other terroristic acts 
were committed. None, however, could equal in impres- 
siveness the death of the sternest and most significant of 
Russian administrators. Plehve, the genius of political 
espionage, the shrewdest suppressor of revolutionary 
movements, dead from the hand of a revolutionary ven- 



detta ! It was more of a blow to autocracy than the loss 
of an army in the Manchurian fields. 

For the first time in many decades the government lost 
its poise. It decided to make concessions. Prince 
Svyatopolk-Mirski was appointed Plehve's successor. 
The new Minister declared that it was his intention to 
** trust *' social organizations and establish '* cordial re- 
lations '' between the government and the public. 

Prince Svyatopolk-Mirski was a liberal administrator. 
He sincerely hoped to improve relations between Russia 
and her ruling forces. He was well meaning, no doubt, 
but he had no intention of granting serious reforms. He 
wished to change the tone of official Russia while leaving 
the institutions intact. And he underestimated the public 
frame of mind. 

Svyatopolk-Mirski's declaration opened the sluices of 
public opinion. The press was the first to raise the ques- 
tion of a " lawful order " and real reforms. The censor- 
ship existed as ever, but it was understood that moderate 
views expressed in a moderate language would be tol- 
erated. The press made extensive use of this promise. 
The Zemstvos and other liberal organizations became 
more determined and more active. Prince Svyatopolk- 
Mirski was not less severe than Plehve in handling revo- 
lutionary elements. It was, however, inconsistent with his 
policy to muzzle liberal organizations. The second half 
yof 1904, known as " Spring," was therefore marked by 
a strong liberal movement. 

A national convention of representatives of all the 
Zemstvos was called for November 6, 1904. The con- 
vention was forbidden by the government, but the or- 
ganizers ignored the order. The convention assembled 
openly in Petersburg, numbering ambng its members the 
best known social workers, professors, writers, lawyers, 
men of science. A set of resolutions was passed demand- 
ing a constitutional order in Russia, and urging the gov- 
ernment immediately to call representatives of the people. 



The necessity of personal freedom, free speech, free 
press, etc., was especially accentuated. 

The November convention was one of the most re- ^ 
markable turning-points in the history of new Russia. 
It expressed, openly and fearlessly, in the face of the 
old administration and all its tremendous forces, the 
common desire of thinking Russia. It acted in violation 
of the government's measures as if challenging the gov- 
ernment to try and interfere with the representatives of 
public opinion. 

This the government did not dare to do. Not one 
of the convention members was arrested. Not one raid 
on the convention hall was undertaken. The example 
of the Zemstvos only encouraged other liberal organiza- 
tions to follow. 

The era of ** banquets '' began. Physicians, lawyers, 
engineers, writers, organized public gatherings under the 
disguise of private banquets ; speeches were given, resolu- 
tions passed, questions of civil order and constitutional 
law discussed. The press commented on the resolutions. 
Several new papers sprang up, using a language hitherto 
unknown in '* legal " publications. Numbers of books 
on constitutional problems, formerly forbidden by the 
censor, were now published and read with real avidity. 
Sonorous voices, fresh, self-reliant, full of life, filled the 
^* Spring *' air. 

The more radical parties were under ban, as before. ^ 
Strikes were being suppressed, meetings of workingmen 
dispersed by the police, village agitators arrested. 
Plehve's espionage machinery was in full swing. Yet, 
nothing could prevent revolutionary intellectuals from 
participating in the " legal " liberal banquets. True, the 
organizers of such banquets were sometimes afraid of 
the police and therefore unwilling to give their gatherings 
an outspoken revolutionary tinge. The revolutionists, 
however, insisted on being admitted to the places of free 
speech. And thus the ^MegaP' and the "illegal" 



branches of new Russia met for the first time, trying to 
influence each other and to find a common language. 
Sometimes the *' masses " themselves, simple working- 
men, members of revolutionary organizations, made their 
appearance^ at the banquets, giving them a picturesque 
air. The subjects under discussion were the methods of 
political campaigning. The radicals insisted on revolu- 
tionary methods, on the necessity of mass-movements, 
barricades, violent insurrections, being certain that old 
Russia would not yield voluntarily. The moderate ele- 
ments believed old Russia was on a road of reforms and 
had only to be urged by organized public opinion. The 
Zemstvo liberals could not imagine the adminis- 
tration opposing the clearly expressed wish of the 

The resolutions of the November convention were dis- 
cussed at the sessions of the local Zemstvos and munici- 
pal councils in November and December, 1904. Numer- 
ous petitions were adopted asking the Tzar to call rep- 
resentatives of the people. Some of the petitions were 
extremely moderate. The Province Zemstvo of Kaluga, 
for instance, expressed its hope that '' the best men, 
clothed with Your Majesty's confidence and the confi- 
dence of the people, will gather around your great throne 
to defend it against the enemies of a firm order." Such 
utterances were looked upon by the revolutionary fac- 
tions as aimed against the revolution, and were criticized 
in venomous terms. Many of the petitions, however 
were expressive enough. Thus the City Council of Mos 
cow, on November 30, 1904, decided " to call the atten 
tion of the government to the urgent necessity of the fol 
lowing measures : protection against unlawful administra 
tive prosecution; aboli^on of extraordinary Wigilance 
measures; freedom of creed and conscience, freedom of 
speech and press, freedom of organization and assembly; 
guarantees of above measures by a freely elected rep- 
resentation of the people; normal co-operation of the 


government with the social institutions exercising control 
over its actions/' 

In the meantime, while the radicals and liberals were 
discussing ways and means of action, the government was 
getting tired of all the noise. It wanted to stop the talk 
once for all. On December 12th, it issued a ukase, prom- 
ising '* responsibility of the authorities for unlawful ac- ^ 
tions," a " greater participation of the Zemstvos and , 
municipal councils in the care for local welfare,'' " unity 
in the courts," state-insurance of industrial workers, ** a 
decrease in the scope and burden of extraordinary meas- 
ures," *' removal of superfluous restrictions of the press " 
so as to put it *' within limits strictly defined by law " 
and removal of certain religious restrictions. The ukase 
seemingly aimed at quieting public unrest, but it con- 
tained no promise of reforms. It did not remove the 
extraordinary ** vigilance " measures, it did not grant 
trial by jury for political cases, it did not promise freedom 
of speech or assemblage, and it contained no hint as to 
popular representation. The ukase was the utmost one 
could expect from the government, and that was 

On the same day, December 12th, the government 
issued a statement declaring that ** all disturbances of 
peace and order and all gatherings of an anti-govern- 
mental character must and will be stopped by all legal ^ 
means in command of the authorities." The Zemstvos 
and municipal institutions were advised to keep within 
lawful limits. 

This was the end of the ** Spring." The romance of 
" cordial relations " withered away. The semi-oiBcial 
Moscow Courier hailed the end of the ** notorious 
Spring." It gave expression to the hope that after spring 
a very hot summer and a tempestuous autumn would fol- 
low, and then winter would come, ** our genuine healthful 
Russian winter, with its smooth comfortable sledgeroad 
over which lightly and peacefully will glide our home- 


made historic vehicle, which is perhaps somewhat clumsy, 
but so well suited to our national tastes and habits.'' *^ It 
is high time," the paper adds, '' that we have a rest 
after a forty years' fatiguing drive over bad political 


On March ii, 1904, the ** Gathering of Industrial 
Workingmen of the City of Petersburg '' opened. It 
was a '' legal '' organization, similar to the Zubatov 
organization in Moscow. Its aim was to unite the work- 
ingmen on the basis of mutual aid and to form a counter- 
balance against revolutionary ideas. The program of 
the *' Gathering '* was: (i) Sober and reasonable pas- 
times, aimed at physical, intellectual and moral improve- 
ment; (2) Strengthening of Russian national ideas 
among its members; (3) Development of '* sensible views 
as to the rights and duties of the workmen"; (4) Im- 
provement of labor conditions and mutual aid. 

The Gathering was opened by special permission of the 
administration. The leaders of the organization were in 
constant touch with the highest police officials of Peters- 
burg. The rank and file of the Gathering, however, knew 
nothing of these secret connections. 

The Gathering flourished. Workingmen, eager for 
any kind of organization, flocked into it and made the 
opening of new branches necessary. The branch-halls 
became attractive social centers, with lectures, discus- 
sions, tea-parties; on Sundays the halls were crowded 
till late in the night. The workingmen were cautioned not 
to discuss any political questions ; they were free, however, 
to speak of their economic conditions, of wages, labor- 
hours, trade diseases and means of improving their lives. 

The leader of the Gathering and its connecting link 
with the administration was the priest, George Gapon. 
It seems that Gapon had no political plans when he 
founded the organization. He was opposed to the revo- 






lutlonary parties and the revolutionary labor-movement. 
He hoped to improve labor conditions through peaceful 
and loyal activities of the workingmen. Perhaps he saw 
nothing obnoxious, from his point of view, in communi- 
cating with the secret police. At any rate, he was ar- 
dently devoted to the organization and made every 
effort to raise the cultural and intellectual level of its 

The revolutionary agitators and the radical intellec- 

y/ tuals shunned the Gathering as a tool in the hands of the 
administration. Radical lecturers refused to appear be- 
fore its audiences. Gapon himself selected a few score 
of the more advanced members with whom, privately and 
almost secretly, he discussed political and economic prob- 
lems, read books on trade unionism, the history of the 
labor--movement in Russia, the merits of a constitutional 
government and the electoral systems in various countries. 
The *' Spring " era seems to have had a great influence 
both on Gapon and on the Gathering. Radical papers 
were now read in the branches. Radical lectures and 
speeches became not Infrequent. Gapon himself ex- 
pressed among his closer circle more sympathy for the 
revolutionary movement. The Socialist organizations of 
Petersburg had to change their view of the Gathering, 
though they still mistrusted the leader. 

The Gathering grew. In December, 1904, it had 
/eleven branches with a membership of nearly 8,000. 

Late in December, four members of the Gathering, 
employees of the Putilov plant, were discharged for be- 
longing to the organization. A meeting of all the 
branches was held, which adopted a schedule of demands 
to be presented to the administration of the plant. It 
elected a committee to visit the manager, the factory- 
inspector and the chief of police, and to put before them 
^ the claims of the workmen. The demands were not 
granted, and on January 3, 1905, the employees of the 

J Putilov plant, several thousand in number, went on strike. 


At that time the government was still benevolent to 
the Gathering. Nobody could foresee what was coming, 
not even Gapon. 

Meetings were held every day in the halls of the 
Gathering, where the strike was discussed, — a privilege 
hitherto never enjoyed by Russian strikers. In a few 
days the strike-movement spread like wild-fire. On Jan- 
uary 6, the number of strikers amounted to 140,000. / 
Practically all industrial life in Petersburg stopped. 

This was a new, tremendous movement unparalleled 
in the history of the previous years and unexpected by 
friend and foe. The workingmen themselves were sur- 
prised to see the gigantic number of strikers. The en- 
thusiasm rose to a high pitch. The public atmosphere 
became heated with deep emotion. Intellectual Peters- 
burg was partly overjoyed, partly awed by the new rising 

The strike was not merely economic. The strikers 
listened with deep interest to political speeches. They 
had no political education, indeed ; yet political problems 
were in the air, political agitation had been conducted by 
the newspapers ever since the beginning of " Spring," 
and in various ways those vital questions had reached the 

The branches of the Gathering now presented a strange 
aspect. Day and night they were thronged with thou- 
sands of strikers; day and night Gapon and his friends, 
sometimes persons from the rank and file, addressed the 
workingmen. The employers were firm in their decision 
to make no concession. The unrest of the strikers grew. 

In this atmosphere was born and bred the idea of going 
to the Tzar to present to him personally the workmen's ^ 


The idea was loyal. It was based on the assumption 
that the Tzar was the father of his people, the protector ^ 
of the poor and the wronged. At the same time it was a 
revolutionary undertaking: it was a protest against law- 


lessness; it was a "meddling" in governmental affairs 
on the part of a class supposed to be obedient and eter- 
nally silent. 

The workingmen of Petersburg took up the idea. It 

appealed to their imagination; it thrilled their hearts. It 

was such a simple idea. They were no revolutionists, of 

^^ course. They were loyal subjects anxious to present their 

grievances to the Source of all justice. 

Yet the atmosphere became more and more revolu- 
tionary. New thousands joined the strike. New thou- 
sands poured into the halls of the Gathering. The spirit 
of the masses became more determined. Rumors were 
abroad that the administration would not permit the pro- 
cession of the workingmen, that it would use military 
force. There was nothing unusual in such an action, 
yet the workingmen did not shrink. They only became 
gloomier, they clung more faithfully to Gapon and his 

Gapon was now the idol. Swept by the wave of pub- 
lic emotion, he abandoned his restraint. With flowing 
hair and blazing eyes, in his long black priest's robe, a 
symbol of unrest and enthusiasm, he appeared in the 
halls of the Gathering, reading and re-reading before the 
throngs the text of the petition, explaining every point, 
asking repeatedly: ** Am I right? Do you agree? '' and 
listening to the moved replies of thousands: *' Yes, yes, 
father.'' . . . 

Beginning January 7, Gapon warned the masses that 
there might be obstacles in their way, that the police 
might attempt to interfere. *' What are you going to do 
then?" he asked, and the throngs replied in religious 
ecstasy: " Then we will die ! We will all die ! Lead us, 
"" father, bless us, father, for the glorious sacrifice." Later 
Gapon began to warn the masses that the Tzar himself 
might not be willing to receive them. The masses could 
not believe it. The masses had unlimited faith in their 
Tzar. It would be the greatest crime, they thought, if 

G. Gapon on January 9TH 


he was not willing to listen to the oppressed. And when 
Gapon finished his incendiary speeches with the warning 
call: ** If he won't accept us, then we have no Tzar! '' 
the masses echoed near and far : ** Then we have no 
Tzar I " . . . 

The text of the petition, as drafted by Gapon, corrected 
with the growth of the movement, and adopted by the 
meetings in and around the Gathering halls, reads as 
follows : 

" Sire ! We, the workingmen of the city of St. Peters- 
burg, our wives, children and old, helpless parents, have 
come to you, Sire, to ask for truth and protection. We 
have grown to be paupers, we are oppressed, we are 
overburdened with work, we are abused, we are not 
recognized as human beings, we are treated like slaves, 
compelled to suffer silently their bitter lot. Suffer we did, 
but we are driven further and further into the abyss of 
poverty, lawlessness and ignorance, we are strangled by 
despotism and arbitrariness, we cannot breathe. We are 
at the end of our strength. Sire. Our patience has 
reached its limit. We are approaching the horrifying 
situation where death is better than the continuation of 
our intolerable pains. 

** Sire, we are here, more than three hundred thousand ^^ 
in number, but we only appear to be human beings; in 
truth we have not one human right, not even the right of 
speaking, thinking, assembling, discussing our needs, 
undertaking measures to improve our conditions. Every 
one of us who dares to raise his voice in defense of the 
interests of the working-class is thrown into prison, ^ sent 
into exile. A good heart, a responsive soul is punished 
as a crime; to have sympathy with the dejected, the op- 
pressed, the tortured is considered a penal act. Sire, is 
this in accord with the laws of God iij whose name you 
reign? Can one live under such laws? Is not death 
better, death for all of us, the workingmen of all Rus- 


sia? Is Lt not better to leave the world to the capitalists 
and the bureaucracy that they may live and enjoy it? 
That is what confronts us, Sire ! And that is what has 
brought us to the walls of your palace. Here we are 
seeking for the last resort. Do not refuse your people 
the needed help, free them from the grave of lawlessness, 
poverty and ignorance, give* them a means of taking their 
fate into their own hands, throw off their shoulders the 
intolerable burden of the bureaucracy. It is necessary 
that the people take care of themselves, because they 
alone know their real wants. So do not refuse them. Sire, 
accept them; order now, immediately, that representatives 
of all the Russian land, of all classes and groups, con- 
vene. Let every one be equal and free in the right of 
election; order to this end that election for the Con- 
stituent Assembly be based on general, equal, direct and 
secret suffrage. This is our main request; in it and upon 
it everything is founded ; this is the only ointment for our 
painful wounds f and in the absence of this our blood 
will continue to flow constantly, carrying us swiftly 
towards death. 

" But this measure alone cannot remedy all our wounds. 
Many others are necessary, and we tell them to you. Sire, 
directly and openly, as to our Father. We need : 

/. Measures to counteract the ignorance and legal 
oppression of the Russian people: 

1. Personal freedom and inviolability, freedom of 
speech and the press, freedom of assemblage, freedom in 
religious affairs; 

2. General and compulsory public education at the 
expense of the state. 

3. Responsibility of the ministers to the people, and 
guarantees of lawfulness in administration. 

[/ 4. Equality before the law for all without exemption. 

5. Immediate rehabilitation of those punished for 
their convictions. 

//. Measures against the poverty of the people: 


i.^ Abolition of indirect taxes and introduction of di- 
rect income taxes on a progressive scale. 

2. Abolition of the redemption payments, cheap credit, 
and gradual transferring of the land to the people. 

///. Measures against oppression of labor by capital: 

1. Protection of labor by legislation. 

2. Freedom of consumers' and producers' leagues and 
trades unions. 

3. An eight-hour work-day and a regulation of over- 

4. Freedom of struggle against capital (freedom of 
labor strikes). 

5. Participation of labor representatives in the fram- 
ing of a bill concerning state insurance of workingmen. 

6. Normal wages. 

'* Those are, Sire, the principal wants with which we 
have come to you. Let your decree be known, swear 
that you will satisfy them, and you will make Russia 
happy and glorious, and your name will be branded in 
our hearts and in the hearts of our posterity for ever 
and ever. If, however, you will not reply to our prayer, 
we shall die here, on the place before your palace. We 
have no other refuge and no other means. We have two 
roads before us, one to freedom and happiness, the other 
to the grave. Tell us. Sire, which, and we will follow 
obediently, and if it be the road of death: let our lives 
be a sacrifice for suffering-wearied Russia. We do not 
regret the sacrifice, we bring it willingly." 

The text of the petition was known all over Peters- 
burg. Intellectual society was in perfect sympathy with 
Gapon and his plan. Everybody was full of apprehen- 
sion. The police did not interfere with the meetings in 
the Gathering halls; the authorities did not arrest Gapon, 
perhaps because they were perturbed themselves by the 
dimensions of the movement. Yet dark rumors filled 
the capital. The chief of police ordered the newspapers 


to publish nothing about the strike, not even to mention 
it. Sunday, January 9th, was the appointed day for pre- 
senting the petition. On the eve of that day the chief of 
police gave out a warning to the population not to crowd 
the streets on Sunday. Simultaneously, an extensive 
mobilization of the police forces and the troops took 
place. It was evident that the government had adopted 
a definite plan. 

On January 8th, Gapon, who for several days had not 
slept at home for fear of arrest, addressed a letter to the 
Minister of the Interior. It ran thus : 

"Your Excellency: — 

** The workingmen and other citizens of St. Peters- 
burg of various classes desire to and must see the Tzar 
on January 9th, at ^ p.m., on the Palace Square, to tell 
him their most pressing needs, the needs of the Russian 

" The Tzar has nothing to fear. I, as the representa- 
tive of the gatherings of industrial workers, my assistants 
and my comrades the workingmen, including the so-called 
revolutionary groups of various programs, vouch for his 
safety. Let him step forth, a real monarch with a manly 
heart, let him approach the people and receive our peti- 
tion from hand to hand. His welfare requires this; as 
does the welfare of the inhabitants of Petersburg and that 
of our Fatherland. In case of refusal, the moral bond 
will be broken that still unites the Russian Tzar with the 
Russian people. 

** It is your duty, your moral duty before the Tzar and 
the entire Russian people, immediately to inform His 
Majesty and to transmit to him the petition here in- 

" Tell the Tzar that I, the workingmen and many thou- 
sands of citizens, peacefully and with faith in His 
Majesty, have determined to march to the Winter Palace. 
Our determination is irrevocable. 


" Let him, in his turn, show faith in us, not through 
a manifesto, but in actual deed. 

** A copy of this, as documentary evidence of a moral 
protest, has been taken and will be made known to the 
entire Russian people. 

" Priest George Gapon 
** And eleven deputies of the workmen." 
"Petersburg, January 8, 1905." 

No reply was received from the minister. 

On Saturday evening a number of intellectuals, mainly 
writers, assembled in the office of the radical daily Nashi 
Dni to discuss the situation. The meeting elected a com- 
mittee to visit Prince Svyatopolk-Mirski and the presi- 
dent of the Cabinet, S. J. Wittee, and ask them to avoid 
bloodshed. Prince Mirski did not receive the committee; 
his assistant advised them to persuade the workingmen to 
abstain from their plan,- and Witte replied that he had 
no power to interfere. 

In the meantime, the city was practically given over 
to the military authorities. In each district a military 
staff was established. Soldier detachments, equipped 
with ammunition, were hidden in the court-yards. The 
silence of the night before January 9th was full of un- 
speakable dread. 

Sunday came, a bright day with the sunlight sparkling 
on the white snow and a blue sky overhead. The work- 
ingmen gathered around their halls and formed marching 
columns. There were no red flags. The front ranks 
carried portraits of the Tzar and the royal family; gon- 
falons floated over the tens of thousands of marchers. 
The workingmen, young and old, men and women, were 
in a religious ecstasy; they sang religious hymns and 
looked very much like a religious procession. 

The military guards and the police allowed them to 
proceed from the suburbs to the Winter Palace. The 
enthusiasm of the crowds grew. Yes, they were going to 



see their father, nobody would stand in their way. ^ A 
Russian conservative, a member of a patriotic organiza- 
tion, Dr. Dyatchkov, afterwards said in his affidavit: 
" The picture was of such a character that I, an orthodox 
Russian, devoted to our Absolute Monarch, loving our 
history and the ancient traditions of unity between the 
Absolute Tzar and his faithful people, had no doubt in 
my mind that no one would shoot, that no one would 
dare to shoot.** 

When the square before the Winter Palace was filled 
with thousands of workingmen, and with thousands of 
onlookers drawn by the unusual sight, squads of soldiers 
appeared. Without warning they shot a number of vol- 
leys into the densest part of the crowd. More than 500 
were killed; between 2,500 and 3,000 were wounded. 
The rest fled in panic. The white snow in front of the 
Palace turned red.* 

The impression created by January 9th on Russia was 
enormous. Its political consequences inestimable. All and 
everybody knew: January 9th was the beginning of the 
Russian revolution. 

A year later, the Courier of Europe, a leading 
moderate monthly, thus described the role of January 
9th : : ^^^ 

" January 9, 1905, is a historic day in the life of Rus- 
sia; few equal it in the past; few, probably, will equal 
it in the future. Not by the blood that was shed will it 
be remembered; not by the number of victims, dead, 
wounded and clubbed. The last year witnessed more than 
one bloody day. . . . Shooting on the unarmed was re- 

* Gapon was on the square when the slaughter began. He escaped 
and fled abroad where he became intimately connected with the revolu- 
tionary parties. Later he returned to Russia and resumed old relations 
with the higher officials of the government, playing a dubious role among 
the workingmen. The Socialist-Revolutionists declared him a traitor to 
their cause, and by order of a secret tribunal be was executed in 1906. 
The true character and intentions of this man are still wrapped in 


peated afterwards several times. January 9th was more 
than that: it was a critical day, critical for the form of 
government that had outlived itself, still more critical for 
the political consciousness and the faith of the people. 
On January 9th it became obvious that the idea of abso- 
lutism had become degraded by the bureaucratic regime,t^ 
that the idea had become submerged in the latter and 
had disappeared. On January 9th hundreds of thousands 
of mystically inclined workingmen discovered that their 
idea of the Tzar as an omnipotent source of truth on 
earth and love for the people, was quite incompatible with 
reality. Their faith in the Tzar, the father of the op- ^ 
pressed and the wronged, was shaken. They saw now 
clearly that the old antithesis: Tzar and people on one 
side, bureaucrats and exploiters on the other, was entirely 
obsolete.'* * 

Immediately after January 9th, the idea of armed 
resistance and an armed revolution sprang up. On the 
evening of January 9th a meeting of over seven hundred 
intellectuals, practically the flower of thinking Petersburg, 
was held in the rooms of the Free Economic Society. 
The meeting in itself was an extraordinary event. The 
surroundings made it still more significant. Outside, the 
streets were dark, the electric plants having gone on 
strike. Gloom hovered over the huge city. Here and 
there fires were burning and figures of soldiers, rifle in 
hand, loomed mysteriously in the midst of creeping 
shadows. Inside, intellectual Petersburg, deeply moved 
by the day's events, was discussing means of continuing 
the struggle. There was already a common opinion that 
the people had to be provided with arms. Reports were 
made on the attitude of the working population. The 
masses were enraged, aflame with anger and indignation, 
but by no means downcast. On the Vasilyevski Island, 
populated with workingmen, a barricade had been con- 
structed in the afternoon and resistance had been offered 

* Courier of Europe, February, 1906, "Social Chronicle." 


to the police. In many other places, collisions between 
the people and the troops took place. The news was re- 
ceived by the meeting with storms of applause. 

January 9th thus united intellectual and laboring Rus- 
sia in one revolutionary bond. 

The government now saw fit to do something. The 
Tzar gave 50,000 rubles out of his private means for the 
families of the killed and wounded (which amounted to 
about fifteen rubles per family). On January 19th a re- 
ception of a labor deputation by the Tzar was staged. 
Fourteen old, *' loyal " workingmen, authorized by no 
labor organization, were picked up by the authorities, 
brought to the Winter Palace and, after a stern lesson 
as to the etiquette of bowing, were led before the eyes 
of the Tzar, who made the following address : 

" I have called you in order that you may hear my 
words from me personally and transmit them to your 

" The sorrowful events which have occurred, with the 
sad but inavoidable consequences of disorder, took place 
because yoiTallbwed yourselves to be lured and deceived 
by traitors and enemies of our Fatherland. 

** Asking you to present to me a petition dealing with 
your needs, they aroused you to rebel against me and my 
government and forcefully deterred you from honest 

" Strikes and meetings only incite the unemployed 
crowds to disturbances which have always compelled and 
always will compel the authorities to resort to armed 
force; this, in its turn, results in suffering to innocent 

" I know that the life of a workingman is not easy. 
There is much to be improved and regulated. In my care 
for the working people I shall see to it that this situa-j 
tion is improved. 

" I believe in the honest feelings of the working peo- 


pie and in their unshakable loyalty to me, and therefore 
/ forgive them their guilt.'' \ ' 

At the end of January, a commission was appointed 
" to investigate the causes of labor unrest in Petersburg 
and its suburbs and to find means of avoiding them in the 
future" (The Shidlovsky Commission). Representa-j 
tives of capital and labor were to participate in the Com- 
mission. The workingmen of Petersburg demanded that 
their representatives be freely elected, that their number 
in the Commission be equal to that of the representatives 
of capital, that the sessions of the Commission be public, 
that freedom of speech be granted to the labor represen- 
tatives, and that the workingmen arrested on January 9th 
be released (the Tzar had *' forgiven the workingmen 
their guilt," yet the prisons were full). 

These demands were rejected. The workingmen then 
decided to boycott the Commission. A vigorous agita- 
tion was conducted in the factories of Petersburg which ' 
added much to the political enlightening of the working 
population. Soon the Commission itself was abandoned. 
The government indirectly admitted that it had no means 
of appeasing labor. 

The Holy Synod issued a circular containing the in- 
telligence that the labor-movement in Russia was sup- 
ported by Japanese money. This was a keynote for the 
reactionary press, which attacked the revolutionary move- 
ment as a conspiracy against Russia initiated by Russia's 
enemies and carried out by non-Russian inhabitants of 
the country. 



January 9, 1905, was the starting-point for a large 
national movement comprising all classes, all groups, all 
parties and all nationalities of Russia. There was not a 
town or a village where the voices of revolutionary Russia 
were not heard; there was not a form of mass-movement 
that was not tried. 

Immediately after January 9th, the border-provinces 
of Russia, populated by Poles, Jews, Letts, Caucasians, 
arose. General strikes of entire cities encircled Russia 
with a ring of flame. Riga, Libau, Warsaw, Lodz, 
Vilna, Minsk, Tiflis, Batum and scores of other cities 
manifested an unusually high pressure of revolutionary 
spirit and a clear understanding of the necessary political 
changes. In every one of these cities life was entirely 
stopped for several days. Huge meetings were held, en- 
counters with the troops repeatedly occurred; in many 
instances the electric plants stopped work, and the cities 
were all dark. The revolutionary organizations, mainly 
Socialists of all factions, were very active. Contrary to 
the Petersburg movement, the masses in the border 
provinces were closely connected with the secret revolu- 
tionary organizations, receiving directions from their 
local committees and supporting their slogans. The most 
popular slogans of that time were : an immediate suspen- 
sion of the war and the calling of a Constituent Assembly 
to establish a new order in Russia. 

The author of this work happened to observe the move- 
ment in Riga in the first half of January. Here, as else- 
where, the rush of the masses exceeded all expectations 
of the revolutionary committees. True, the committees 



had issued proclamations calling for a strike. But while 
in former months comparatively small numbers of work- 
ingmen used to answer the call, now more than 60,000, 
practically all the working-population of Riga, went on 
strike. No economic demands were made, the move- 
menf being purely political. The city suddenly became a 
scene of turmoil. Masses thronged the streets; cars 
stopped; many stores closed; thousands of sympathetic 
onlookers crowded the pavements, the balconies and the 
windows. Revolutionary speeches were made openly, in 
front of the police. The orators were mainly members 
of the revolutionary organizations, but there were also 
others, students, intellectuals, who were swept by the cur- 
rent. The masses cheered. Joy mingled with anguish 
filled the hearts of the crowds. The police were power- 
less, but the city was now under martial law. Troops 
were marching through the streets; sometimes they would 
pass leaving the crowds intact; sometimes they used 
their bayonets in dispersing the meetings. Often the peo- 
ple offered resistance ; stones were thrown at the soldiers, 
clubs were brandished. The soldiers opened fire. In 
one day, according to official reports, which usually mini- 
mized the extent of the movement, twenty-two were 
killed and sixty wounded by the troops. 

This added oil to the fire. The entire city was seeth- ] 
ing with indignation. A funeral march was organized 
the next day. Red and black flags were carried in front 
of the coffins; behind, a procession of more than 30,000 
citizens followed. The authorities did not try to inter- 
fere with the demonstration. 

In a similar way the movement proceeded in all the 
other cities of the border provinces. The political char- 
acter of the movement was more pronounced here, partly 
because the general level of education was higher than 
in the central Russian provinces, partly because the popu- 
lation was under a severer pressure of administrative 
lawlessness. There were little towns in Lithuania where 


for a day or two, before the arrival of troops, the old 
administration was discharged by revolutionary crowds 
and new officials were appointed by the revolutionary com- 

^ At the bottom of the entire upheaval, however, lay the 
economic interests of the labor masses. It was a strike 
for economic improvements that started the snow-ball of 
January 9th rolling. It was a deep dissatisfaction with 
1 labor-conditions that called the masses into the streets of 
\Riga, Warsaw, Baku. And this economic undercurrent 
was especially evident when the movement reached the 
central Russian provinces. Here, the socialist organiza- 
tion had less influence ; the labor-movement was of a more 
elementary character, and what the strikers demanded 
was, first of all, higher pay and shorter hours of labor, 
though they seldom forgot to add also political demands. 

The strike-movement assumed after January 9th the 
character of an epidemic. There was no trade, no occu- 
pation, no industrial center in which large strikes did not 
take place. A conservative observer thus describes the 
situation: *' Strikes are rolling over Russia as feather- 
grass over the steppe, outrunning each other, from Peters- 
burg to Baku, from Warsaw to the heart of Siberia. 
Everybody is engaged in a strike, workingmen, students, 
railway-conductors, professors, cigarette-makers, phar- 
macists, lawyers, barbers, shop-clerks, telegraphists, 
school-boys. The tremendous and the awe-inspiring is 
mingled with the strange and comical. The atmosphere 
is overcharged with a kind of irritating electricity. Here 
and there lightning flashes up and disappears. Timid 
people cross themselves asking: "What is going to hap- 
pen? What is going to happen?" 
( The railroads soon joined the strike-movement. 
There was no general strike on the railroads, but one 
line after another was tied up for a few days, the em- 
ployees demanding, and often receiving concessions. 

No exact figures as to the number of strikers in 1905 


are available. The official Strike Statistics in igos, 
comprising only such industrial concerns as were under 
the jurisdiction of the factory-inspection, puts the number 
of strikes at 13,110 and the number of strikers at 2,709,- 
695. These figures, says the official reviewer, are *' un- 
paralleled not only in the strike-history of Russia for 
the last ten years, but in the history of the world. The 
strike-movement of Russia was five times stronger than 
that of America or Germany and ten times stronger than 
that of France. The number of strikes in Russia ex-' 
ceeded that in the seven greatest industrial countries of 
the world for the year 1900.'* * 

This huge movement was not organized at all. There y^ 
was no national body to direct the strikes, to give them 
unity and a clear purpose. There were no local bodies 
responsible for the beginning and the end of a strike. 
Not even strike-committees of a temporary character 
were common. Without strike-funds, without experience 
in concerted action, without knowledge of the financial 
conditions of their employers or of the labor market, the 
workingmen of the various trades plunged into one strike 
after another. The strike-movement of 1905 was more 
of a spontaneous outburst of energy, a blind thrust of a 
power just awakening to public life, than a self-conscious 
political and social movement. 

However, this movement was a great menace to the 
government. It was too vigorous, too obstinate, too ele- 
mental in its onslaught. It manifested a deep, tremen- 
dous source of revolutionary power. 

Soon rural Russia joined in. It was as if sparks from 
the city-conflagrations reached the villages and provoked ^ 
the peasants to new revolts. A general agrarian move- 
ment spread in February and March over vast areas! 
of Russia, covering practically every province. The 
typical movement in central Russia was that of looting 

* Quoted from D. Koltzov, " Labor in 1905-07," in the collection Social 
Movement, Vol. II, Part i, p. 253. 


the landlords' mansions and robbing their stores of wheat, 
rye, potatoes. The participants in such attacks were 
severely .punished, but no penalty was able to stop the 
revolts. In the border provinces the agrarian movement 
was more organized, assuming sometimes the forms of 
peasants' and laborers' strikes. 

Towards the spring of 1905, all Russia was in com- 
motion. The secret revolutionary organizations gained 
influence every day. Their membership increased enor- 
mously. Large numbers of students and political refu- 
gees secretly returned from abroad to join the revolu- 
tionary committees. Russia was literally flooded with 
revolutionary printed matter. Attempts on the lives of 
officials, high and low, became very numerous. Every 
day the papers had to note : such and so many policemen, 
captains, chiefs of police, gendarmerie oflficers, etc., were 
killed. A member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, 
Kalyayev, assassinated Grand Duke Sergius Alexandro- 
vitch, the Tzar's uncle. 

> In the meantime the Russian army was suffering one 
'disastrous defeat after the other. In February it lost 
the battle at Mukden. In May, the destruction of the 
Russian battle-fleet near Tsushima, shocked the people 
deeply; press-revelations were stunning even those who 
knew very well the nature of the Russian bureaucracy. 

The government became uneasy. It began to yield. 
From spring to the end of 1905 it made concessions to 
the progressive forces, but it did so reluctantly, half- 
heartedly, with no determination to keep its promise. 
The more it yielded, the more impatient the people be- 
came; and the more insistent the movement grew, the 
more the government yielded. 

On February 18, 1905, occurred the first breach in 
: the wall of absolutism. In a rescript in the name of the 
Minister of the Interior, the Tzar made known his in- 
tention to create a representative body. ** Continuing 
the imperial work of my crowned ancestors in uniting and 


organizing the Russian land," the rescript said, '* I have 
now conceived the design of drawing, with the help of 
God, the most worthy persons vested with the confidence 
of and elected by the people, to partake in the preliminary 
elaboration and discussion of legislative measures." 

This meant a consulting board elected by the people, 
with no power to do legislative work. No definite term 
was set for the realization of the promise. 

Simultaneously the Tzar granted the right of petitions. 
In an ukase to the Senate he allowed private persons and 
institutions to present to the Emperor their ** views and 
propositions as to the questions of perfecting the govern- 
mental order or improving the people's welfare." The 
Tzar thus made legal the act for which the workingmen 
of Petersburg had been shot on January 9th. 

The right of petitions gave new impetus to the social 
unrest. It was especially welcome to liberal groups and 
organizations which were opposed to illegal methods. 
Such were the Zemstvos, the municipal councils, the unions 
of professionals, the liberal capitalists and many groups 
of intellectuals. 

The campaign had been opened by the professors.l 
Shortly after January 9th, sixteen academicians, 125 full- 
fledged professors and over 200 assistant professors 
issued a declaration stating that academic reforms and 
liberty of knowledge would be possible only after " rep- 
resentatives of the population, freely elected, assume 
legislative power and control over the administration." 
After February i8th a storm of resolutions, petitions and 
addresses from Zemstvos and municipal councils arose. 
Many of the resolutions were very radical, but even the 
most moderate declared a constitutional order and civic 
freedom to be of vital necessity for the people. The 
Zemstvos and municipal councils did not merely act in- 
dividually. Four conventions of Zemstvos and several 
conferences of municipal councils and city mayors were 
held during the spring and summer of 1905. On May 


24th, a joint convention of Zemstvos and cities adopted 
an address to be presented to the Tzar. A delegation 
of twelve, elected by the convention, were admitted to 
the Tzar on June 6th and handed him the address, which 
reads in part: 

** Sire ! The criminal negligence and corruption of 
your advisers has plunged Russia into a disastrous war. 
Our army has not been able to vanquish the foe, our 
battle-fleet is destroyed, and, more menacing than external 
danger, internal conflicts are ablaze. . . . Sire, for the 
sake oJF Russia's safety, for the sake of order and in- 
ternal peace, we beg you to issue an order calling rep- 
resentatives of the people elected equally and without 
discrimination by all your subjects; let them decide in 
agreement with you the vital question of the state, the 
question of war and peace. . . . Let them manifest to 
all the nations not a Russia full of dissensions, breaking 
down in internal conflicts, but a Russia cured, powerful 
in her regeneration, united around the national banner; 
let them establish in harmony with you a new political 

The Tzar replied : " Have no doubt. My imperial 
resolution to call representatives of the people is firm. 
They will rightly be admitted to the work of the state. 
I follow this question every day and I am behind it.'' 

This was a little more gracious than the advice to give 
up ** absurd illusions," but still it was as obscure politically 
as it was awkward grammatically. Russia could hardly 
be satisfied with such a reply. 

Liberal Russia, however, was full of hope. The gov- 
ernment seemed to be disorganized, its self-confidence 
shaken. Ardent supporters of the old regime, such as the 
chairmen of the provincial nobility-councils, admitted at 
their convention that " only a shadow of the government 
remained; that all over Russia people's minds were seeth- 


ing and their emotions aflame; that most moderate citi- 
zens would have to admit that the government had mor- 
ally collapsed." It seemed evident that, driven by public 
opinion, instigated by the unanimous demand of the entire 
nation it would be compelled to keep its promise. Liberal 
Russia, therefore, bombarded the government with peti- 
tions, addresses and resolutions; it draughted plans of a 
constitution, discussed at meetings and conferences the 
most vital points of a constitutional government and even 
the details of the coming Russian constitution, and was 
gradually crystallizing into several factions. 

The intellectuals outside of the Zemstvos and munici- 
pal councils organized in ** Unions " according to their 
professions. There were '* Unions " of writers, lawyers, 
school-teachers, professors, engineers, agriculturists, sta-, 
tisticians, physicians, veterinarians, etc., all founded after 
January 9th in the course of two or three months. The 
Unions were organized on a national scale, having 
branches in every large city and a central office in Peters- 
burg. Their primary purpose appeared to be the pro- 
tection of their professional interests; the organizations, 
however, were mainly political. The professional needs 
of each particular Union were used only as a basis for a 
political declaration stating that the profession could not 
flourish under autocracy and that the calling of a con- 
stituent assembly on the basis of universal, equal, direct, 
and secret suffrage was the urgent demand of the time. 
The various Unions were represented in a federated Cen- 
tral Union having its seat in Petersburg. The Central 
Union included also the Union of railroad employees and 
the Union of post and telegraph clerks. As an example 
of the Union-programs, the declaration of the Union of 
railroad employees may be quoted (adopted at a con- 
vention in Moscow, April 20-21): "The aim of the 
Union is the protection of the material, legal, cultural and 
professional interests of the railroad employees, which 
can be achieved only when life is dominated by a demo- 


cratic idea. It is, therefore, the primary and most 
urgent task of the Union to demand the creation of con- 
ditions making the unhampered development of demo- 
cratic ideas possible. As a logical means to this, the 
Union demands that representatives of the people be 
immediately called on the principle of universal, equal, 
direct and secret suffrage, without discrimination as to sex, 
nationality or creed.'* 

The " Central Union " was a great revolutionary factor 
in 1905. It followed the tactics of ignoring legal re- 
strictions of press, speech and assemblage. It openly 
called meetings, conventions and conferences; it pub- 
lished resolutions in the newspapers; it conducted a vig- 
orous campaign for a Constituent Assembly, And such 
was the confusion of the government, that it did not in- 
terfere. The Central Union was not socialistic in its pro- 
gram, although it included many socialist members ; yet it 

^was far more radical than the Zemstvos and the municipal 
councils. In fact, the Central Union held the balance 

{between the extreme revolutionists, the Social Democrats 
and Social-Revolutionists, and the liberal Zemstvos. 



The wealthy industrial classes were by no means radi- 
cal. They had lived in harmony with the old administra- 
tion, which tried to make them concessions and to satisfy 
their wants. However, they were not vitally connected 
with absolutism, and they were vitally interested in po- 
litical reforms opening brighter prospects for industrial 
progress. January 9th and the following months of 
political unrest stimulated the representatives of industry 
and commerce to join the movement. 

On January 31, 1905, the Petersburg manufacturers' 
association adopted the text of a memorandum to be pre- 
sented to the Minister of Finance. The memorandum 
reads in part: '* The industrial prosperity of the end of 
the last decade was soon superseded by a crisis and a state 
of depression which made it quite manifest that industry - 
cannot flourish where the masses suffer privation, that a 
healthy growth of industry depends first of all and above 
all upon the purchasing power of the people. The metal 
industry, stimulated by government orders and the influx 
of foreign capital, soon came to the conclusion that its 
future and even its present depends upon the consumption 
of iron by the people. Such consumption presupposes 
the growth of popular welfare, the spreading of educa- 
tion, the development of trades, the radical reconstruction 
of the life of the rural population, which is now down- 
trodden, economically ruined and poor." 

The Moscow manufacturers' association stated: "In- 
dustry is intimately connected with a stable legal order, 
with guaranteed personal freedom and freedom of per- 
sonal initiative, with freedom of knowledge and scientific 



truths with public education of the masses supplying in- 
dustry with labor which is the less productive, the more 
ignorant it is. The backwardness of Russia, due to our 
precarious political order, has shattered her position in 
V the world-market and turned her into a secondary factor. 
There is no doubt that our industry and the situation of 
our labor-classes have been Injuriously influenced by our 
disordered financial system^ which can be regulated only 
through the participation of social elements in the dis- 
cussion of the budget.'' 

The Ural manufacturers stated in their petition: 
** Russia lacks both civic freedom and a firmly established 
legal order, and this is the cause of the disturbances in 
our industrial system. Backwardness of legislation is 
most keenly felt by agile and sensitive industry. Thus, 
the reform of our stock-legislation has been pending for 
more than thirty years, the revision of the passport sys- 
tem has required forty-five years and still is not completed 
in its main part. The new note regulations were a result 
of twelve commissions covering fifty-five years. The land- 
regulations on the Ural took half a century." 

The sugar-manufacturers of Kiev declared at their con- 
vention: The sugar industry " is directly interested in the 
welfare of the great masses which are the main con- 
sumers of its products. The absence of freedon of speech 
and press, of freedom of meetings and unions, which are 
the inalienable rights of every citizen in every modern 
country, not only have a depressing effect on our private 
life, but, spreading apathy and limiting the intellectual 
horizon of our industrial life, they also hamper the full 
development of the productive forces of our country/^ 

Putting together all the views of the various industrial 
and trade organizations as expressed in their numerous 
petitions and resolutions, we can thus summarize the 
reasons for their reform demands: (i) They needed 
a greater internal market for their products; (2) They 
needed more educated labor; (3) They needed freedom 


of personal initiative; (4) They needed industrial legis- 
lation complying with the rapid economic development; 
(5) They needed a stable legal order not dependent upon 
the whims of administrators; (6) They needed a stable 
budget and a sound financial system; (7) They were tired 
of temporizing with the government, which gave them 
orders and concessions as a personal favor; and finally 
(8) They were against the bureaucracy, as people engaged 
in modern pursuits and hating the political oppression of 
their own class as well as that of others. 

There was, however, one more reason, perhaps more 
powerful than the others, for the liberal tendencies of 
the manufacturers; this was their desire to appease the 
striking masses of labor. Here, for the first time in many 
years, they came into a direct collision with the adminis- 
tration. The government was inclined to make the work- 
ingmen economic concessions; this the manufacturers 
opposed, demanding, however, that labor be given 
political concessions. The government tried to convince 
the manufacturers that the causes of unrest lay primarily 
in the labor-conditions of the working population; the 
manufacturers replied that no real betterment of labor 
conditions was possible unless political freedom were 
granted. This conflict between industry and the adminis- 
tration lasted during the whole of 1905 and added greatly 
to the general unrest. 

As early as January 24, 1905, the Minister of 
Finance, at a conference with 400 Petersburg manufac- 
turers, insisted on the urgency of improvements in labor- 
conditions. In preparing for this conference, the manu- 
facturers had had a number of preliminary meetings, 
where they decided that *' general demands of the work- 
ingmen (such as an eight-hour work-day, the abolition 
of fines, the participation of the workingmen in the 
elaboration of factory-rules) should not be discussed'' 
as they could be decided only by legislation; as to par- 
ticular local demands in each factory, the manufacturers 


had come to a conclusion that '' as a general rule, it was 
undesirable to have any binding agreements with labor, 
although, in view of the unrest, negotiations were a neces- 
sity.** At the conference, where these resolutions were 
made known, the Minister, in a vigorous speech, criticized 
the attitude of the employees. '' The issuance of new 
labor-laws," he said, " cannot do away with the necessity 
of measures less decisive and less general, but more 
prompt and more easily realized.'* The Minister urged 
the manufacturers to comply with the wishes and hopes 
of the government, the press and public opinion. The 
manufacturers gave no definite promise. The govern- 
ment appointed a commission on labor-conditions (the 
Shidlovski Commission) which was to lay out a plan of 
concessions to labor at the expense of the manufacturers. 
This excited the opposition of capital. *' Industry can- 
not work at a loss,** the Petersburg manufacturers' asso- 
ciation declared in a memorandum, '* neither can it be 
actuated by motives of charity. Industry is working 
under a hard strain and is giving as much as it can. The 
appeal to the manufacturers to satisfy labor demands 
gives ground to the assumption that the economic condi- 
tions of the workingmen are looked upon as one of the 
main factors in creating the recent disturbances. This 
opinion, however, is erroneous. Not even a full satis- 
faction of all labor demands would be able to restore 
peace and order, the labor-movement having its source 
not in the consciousness of economic difficulties, but in 
the influence of the environment.*' 

The attitude of the Petersburg manufacturers Is more 
clearly expressed In another memorandum. '* No con- 
cessions to labor in particular points, nor a general re- 
vision of the labor laws,** the memorandum reads, ** can 
appease the restless laborers. The real and only effective 
means of quieting the labor-movement In the future or 
at least of diminishing its present acuteness, Is through 
reforms of a general political character J* 


" What are the manufacturers alone in a position to do 
for the improvement of labor conditions?" the iron 
manufacturers asked in a memorandum. '' At the best, 
they could give up their legitimate incomes from capital 
and turn them over to labor to improve its conditions, 
i.e., they could turn industry into charity." The iron- 
manufacturers see another way out of the difficulty, 
namely " fundamental reforms, as urged by the Zemstvo- 
representatives, by the municipal councils and various 
other groups and classes." 

The same attitude was held by the manufacturers all 
over the country. In many instances capital was dis- 
quieted not only on account of the economic concessions 
demanded, but because the revolts were a menace to the 
very existence of their enterprises. " A greater menace 
than the labor-movement is for the sugar industry the 
approaching storm of peasant revolts," the sugar manu- 
facturers declared. ** Armed forces may be able to pro- 
tect manufacturers in the cities against the increasing 
labor-movement; detachments of soldiers may guard the 
urban industrial concerns against the violence of a riotous 
mob. But what could be strong enough to protect our 
factories and estates, scattered over the immense stretches 
of our country? " 

The government, however, saw in economic concessions 
an effective means to restore order. Minister of Finance 
Kokovtzev planned the establishment of a ten-hour work- 
day and many other reforms of a non-political character. 
At a meeting of a commission on labor legislation under 
his presidency, Kokovtzev, on March 16, 1905, ad- 
dressed 130 representatives of manufacturers' associa- 
tions. *' The government has been accused," he said, " of 
granting concessions to labor without the necessary cau- 
tion and of having as its sole aim the restoration of order 
even if this had to be accomplished at the expense of 
the employees. It is intimated, further, that the present 
movement was provoked by political propaganda only. 


The truth is that if the political propaganda was able 
to exert such an influence over the workingmen, this was 
due to the conditions of their life which are sometimes ex- 
tremely hard and miserable. As organic diseases develop 
in the spots of least resistance, so political diseases find 
the most favorable medium among the exploited, the 
needy and the poor/' 

To this speech the chairman of the Petersburg Cham- 
ber of Commerce replied that the only reforms which 
would pacify the labor-movement were political reforms, 
as demanded by all classes and groups of the population. 

As months passed and the general unrest became of a 
larger scope and of a more menacing character, the manu- 
facturers became bolder in their attack on the adminis- 
tration, which was now compelled to turn its attention to 
political reforms. " We cannot live any longer under 
such conditions r* the Nishni-Novgorod Chamber of 
Commerce declared in October, 1905. '* We need order 
as we need air to breathe ! " 

For the same reasons, the nobility, the large landlords, 
connected as they were with the old regime, began to urge 
the government to grant reforms. Fundamentally, the 
noble landlords, as represented by the provincial councils 
of the nobility, were strongly in favor of autocracy. 
Their reform-demands did not go further than the estab- 
lishment of a consulting national body to be elected by 
the people. Such a body, declared a convention of the 
chairmen of the provincial nobility-councils, would give 
the Tzar an opportunity to know the wishes of the people 
and to act in accordance with them. It was the old 
slavophilic idea put into practice, — that of abandoning 
the bureaucratic *^ partition " between the absolute mon- 
arch and his people, by creating an advisory board from 
the people themselves. With the development of the 
revolutionary movement and the growth of peasant re- 
volts — making life on the landlords' estates utterly in- 
tolerable, the landlords became more impatient. Many 


of them began to criticize the inefficiency of the adminis- 
tration and to demand thoroughgoing reforms. 

Let us now pause for a moment and cast a glance over 
Russia as she appeared towards the autumn of 1905. 

A tremendous social and political unrest, an incessant 
shaking of all the foundations of life. Strikes of work- 
ingmen spreading, surging up, disappearing and spread- 
ing again; strikes of a political character culminating in 
demands for an eight-hour work-day and higher wages; 
strikes of an economic character ending with the demand 
for a Constituent Assembly on the basis of general, equal, 
direct and secret suffrage; strikes of peasant-workers in 
the rural districts ending with attacks on the property of 
landlords; strikes of railroads tying up for a while the 
traffic in portions of the country. Street demonstrations 
in the cities, accompanied by rifle fire of the police and the 
soldiers; revolts in the village, with burning corn-stacks 
and noble mansions illuminating the horizon at night, with 
thousands of peasants killed, wounded or imprisoned. 
Endless meetings of workingmen, of intellectuals, of 
manufacturers, of landowners, of peasants, clamoring, 
criticizing, condemning, demanding. Endless encounters 
with the police and the military forces in village and town, 
resulting sometimes in the construction of barricades, in 
organized armed resistance. Defeats on the battlefields 
and then a shameful peace with the loss of Russian terri- 
tory. Shaken finances, shaken credit, shaken confidence 
in the administration. . . . The army still remained 
loyal, but on June 14th, the battleship '' Potyomkin,'* 
cruising on the Black Sea, hoisted a red flag; the crew 
captured the officers and hastened to the support of 
Odessa strikers then in sharp conflict with the adminis- 
tration. The '' Potyomkin," joined by a battle-cruiser, 
soon surrendered to the superior force of the loyal navy, 
but the rebellion was of great significance: it showed / 
that the army, demoralized by the Russo-Japanese wart/ 



and influenced by the revolutionists, was not perfectly 

The demands, economic and political, varied in radi- 
calism; there were, however, two central points supported 
by the majority of the organized groups and factions and, 
; evidently, by the majority of the people themselves. One 
demand was political: civic freedom; total abolition of 
absolutism; establishment of a constitutional government 
responsible to a parliament elected by the people on the 
basis of universal suffrage. Another demand was eco- 
nomic: confiscation of the large landed estates, creation 
of a land-fund to supply the needy peasants with land 
for a moderate rent. As to the mode of confiscation, 
the Socialist parties demanded that the land be taken 
away from the owners without compensation, while the 
moderate groups (Zemstvos, etc.) insisted that the land- 
owners should be remunerated from the state treasury 
for the loss of their land. Late in the summer of 1905 
the Peasant-Union was organized, a loose representation 
of certain groups of revolutionary peasants in various 
provinces. The Union also demanded the confiscation 
of the landed estates ; it made, however, no general state- 
ment as to the mode of expropriation, admitting that 
under certain circumstances the owners might be paid for 
their land.* 

Confronted with all these enormous movements, re- 
bellions and insurrections, the government yielded, but 
always too late. On April 17th it abandoned some of the 
religious restrictions; on August 6th it published the 
methods of election to the representative body, to be 
called the Imperial Duma (Council) — an institution 
vested with the right to discuss bills but not to vote them; 
on August 27th it granted autonomy to the universities. 
All these reforms were of great importance, yet they 
satisfied nobody. The main feature of Russian public 

*P. Maslov, Peasant Movements, 1905-07, p. 237, in the collection 
Social Movements, Vol. II, Book a. 


life, absolutism, still remained untouched. The right to 
pass laws at liberty remained in the hands of the adminis- 
tration. Freedom of speech, press, assemblage, etc., was 
not granted, although the masses forcibly and in dis- 
obedience to the law, sometimes imperiling their very 
lives, introduced in Russia the practice of free speech and 
free press. This led to innumerable attacks on the part 
of the administration. Thus, three weeks after the pub- 
lication of the quasi-constitution, a peaceful meeting in 
Tiflis, in the city hall, was fired upon by a squad of sol- 
diers, and over 100 persons were killed and wounded. 




Early in September the universities opened under the 
autonomous order. The students decided to stop their 
strike of the previous winter and spring, to keep the uni- 
versities open and to place the auditoriums at the dis- 
posal of the people. Soon the universities became head- 
quarters of the revolution. Tremendous meetings of 
students, of professional folk, of workingmen, were held 
by day and night; revolutionary committees almost aban- 
doned their secrecy, having offices and sessions within 
the walls of the universities. And such was the paradox 
of Russian life at that time, that the administration did 
not interfere. Meetings in towns were forbidden, dis- 
persed by military force. Meetings on the university- 
grounds were undisturbed. 

No wonder everybody flocked to the universities and 
to the other high educational institutions. There was now 
a constant current of ideas, feelings and plans between 
the universities and the workshops, the railroad stations, 
the printing presses. Here, in the abodes of learning, 
slogans were formulated, tactics were decided upon, plans 
were elaborated. The floods of revolutionary energy 
were rising higher and higher. The air was charged with 

Soon the general October-strike began. 
^ Nobody had organized it. Nobody had planned it. 
Nobody could have foreseen it. It came spontaneously. 
It spread with elemental force, and soon the entire coun- 
try was in the grip of this enormous movement. 

It started with a strike of typographical employees in . 
Moscow. By September 24th, there were on strike fifty 



presses with 5,900 workingmen. The strikers gathered 
in the streets; the police dispersed them, shooting and 
killing. On October 2nd their Petersburg comrades of the 
same trade went on a sympathetic strike. On October 7th, 
the railroads of the Moscow net began to stop work 
one after the other. '' Spasms of the heart began,'* as 
the Movoye Vremya expressed it. The strike spread on 
October 7th over the Moscow-Kazan line, on October 8th >■ 
over the Moscow-Yaroslav, Moscow-Nishni Novgorod 
and Moscow-Kursk lines, on October 9th over the Mos- 
cow-Kiev- Voronesh and the Moscow-Brest lines. Simul- 
taneously various trades and professions went on strike. 
On October loth, the Nicholas line, connecting Petersburg 
with Moscow, stopped. In a few days the railroad strike 
spread from the center to the periphery of the enormous 
country and soon all of the 40,000 kilometers of Russian 
railroads, employing over 750,000 men, were at a stand- 
still. The post-ofEce joined. Many telegraph lines 
joined. The tendency towards a general strike grew. 
Most Russian factories, plants and shops stopped work. 
Office clerks, Zemstvo-employees, bank-clerks, city-clerks, 
went on strike. Most of the stores, piers, warehouses 
were closed. Communication between provinces and 
cities ceased. Prices of food jumped up. Innumerable 
meetings were held, the general slogan being a Con- 
stituent Assembly. In many cities the crowds attacked 
gun-smiths' shops, seizing their arms. In a few cities 
barricades were constructed, street-cars were overturned, 
telegraph poles cut, paving-stones gathered and used as 
a protection against military attacks. 

The excitement reached its climax. The strike was an 
onslaught unknown not only in Russia but in the history 
of the world. The strike was readily supported by all 
progressive classes, groups and factions. The municipal 
councils demanded that the administration do something. 
Many city-councils had joint meetings with the political 
organizations, including the revolutionary socialist com- 


mittees. In a few cities committees of public safety were 

The central government was panic stricken. The army 
was not entirely reliable. Soldiers and officers began to 
be seen at revolutionary meetings. Besides, the railroad- 
strike set insurmountable obstacles to military operations. 
The post-office strike added to the demoralization of the 
authorities. The strike seemed to be unconquerable. 
The government was utterly alone. Trains between 
Petersburg and Tsarskoye Selo, the residence of the 
Tzar, did not run. The Minister of Justice, after leaving 
Tsarskoye Selo on October 14th, could not reach Peters- 
burg by train and was compelled to hire horses. The 
ministers were hampered in their communication with the 
Tzar. The situation looked hopeless. 

The government yielded. On October 17th the follow- 
ing manifesto was issued : 

" By the grace of God, We, Nicholas II, Emperor and 
Absolute Monarch of all Russia, Tzar of Poland, Grand 
Duke of Finland, etc., etc., etc. 

" Disturbances and unrest in the capitals and in many 
places of our Empire fill our heart with a great and pain- 
ful grief. The welfare of the Russian Monarch is indis- 
solubly connected with the welfare of the people, and 
their grief is his grief. The present disturbances may 
cause a deep disorder in the people and be a menace to 
the integrity and unity of our Empire. 

** The great oath of Imperial service enjoins us to 
endeavor with all our might to bring about the cessation 
of disturbances perilous to the State. Having ordered 
the proper authorities to take measures against the direct 
manifestations of disorder, riots and violent acts and to 
protect peaceful people eager to do their duty, we, in 
order to carry through the general measures outlined by 
us for pacifying the national life, have found it necessary 
to unify the activities of the higher government. 


** We make it the duty of the government to execute 
our firm will: 

1. To grant the people the unshakable foundations 
of civic freedom on the basis of real personal inviolability, 
freedom of conscience, of speech, of assemblage and of 

2. To admit now to participation in the Imperial 
Duma,^ without stopping the pending elections and in so 
far as it is feasible in the short time remaining before the 
convening of the Duma, all the classes of the population, 
leaving the further development of the principle of uni- 
versal suffrage to the new legislative order. 

3. To establish it as an unshakable rule that no law 
can become binding without the consent of the Imperial 
Duma, and that the representatives of the people must 
be guaranteed a real participation in the control over 
the lawfulness of the authorities appointed by us. 

** We call on all faithful sons of Russia to remember 
their duty to their Fatherland, to aid in putting an end 
to the unprecedented disturbances and to exert with us 
all their power to restore quiet and peace in our native 

Simultaneously with the manifesto, the memorandum 
of Count Witte, who was destined to be first president of 
the unified cabinet, was made public. Count Witte wrote 
to the Tzar : '* The general unrest among the various 
classes of Russian society must not be considered as a 
result of partial imperfection in our political and social 
order, nor as a result of organized activities of the ex- 
treme parties. Its roots lie undoubtedly deeper, in the dis- 
turbed balance between the ideal aspirations of thinking 
Russian society and the external forms of its life. Rus- 
sia has outlived the existing order. She strives towards 
a lawful order on the basis of civic freedom.'* 

The act of October 17th marked a new era in the his- i 
tory of Russia. On that day Russia, legally, ceased to be ^ 


an absolute monarchy. *^ No law can become binding with- 
out the consent of the Duma " elected by the people, de- 
clared the head of the nation. Occurrences after October 
17th might have been more outrageous than before. 
They were, however, overt illegal acts, or series of such 
acts. Herein lay the historical importance of the October- 
strike and its fruit, the manifesto. 

The news of the granted constitutional order acted 
upon the people like a fresh breeze. Masses gathered in 
the streets in riotous joy, friends and strangers shook 
hands, kissed each other, wept with tears of hafppiness. 
** Citizens,*' ^* comrades '' wore red flowers in their lapels, 
red flags waved over their heads. Passing soldiers were 
greeted with cheers, officers saluted the red flag, police- 
men looked good-naturedly upon the crowds mumbling, 
*' nothing doing, it's freedom." But dark shadows were 
lurking behind the joy, and the air was full of evil 

In Petersburg, the news of the manifesto became 
known in the evening of October 17th. The same eve- 
ning Colonel Rieman, of the Imperial Body Guards 
Regiment, cannonaded the Technological Institute where 
meetings were held. On October i8th, in the morning, 
Cornet Frolov attacked a crowd in front of the Institute. 
On October 18th, at noon. Colonel Mien fired on a crowd 
in the Gorokhovaya Street. On October i8th, in the 
evening, Cossacks fired a volley on the workingmen of the 
Putilov plant. 

Such was the beginning of the new order. 

The author of this work was in the closest touch with 
events in Kiev. It was a beautiful autumn day when the 
manifesto reached the city. A blue sky was spread over- 
head and the yellow leaves of the numerous parks tinged 
the picturesque town, the beauty of the South, with gold. 
Floods of people rushed to the City Hall through the 
broad sunlit streets. Russians and Jews, Poles and 
Ukrainians formed one happy brotherly gathering. The 


Alexandrovskaya Place was alive with thousands of eyes, 
bright, shining, smiling in childlike ecstasy. Currents 
of unutterable gladness swept the great crowd. There 
was no riotous mood; a holy feeling, akin to religious awe, 
overwhelmed all those masses whose dream seemed to 
have become real. 

Then some one whispered a word. It fell on people's 
souls like molten lead. The word spread. A disquieting 
rumor passed from one to another. Something was hap- 
pening, something fatal, dreadful, unbelievable. No, it 
was impossible. It was the excited fantasy of an un- 
balanced crank. The people listened to the speakers. 
They were standing on the high balcony of the City Hall, 
behind them the now conquered two-headed imperial 
eagle, in front of them the emancipated people drinking 
their first draught of liberty. ... A shriek interrupted 
the speech, a cry of anguish. " Pogrom." In the ad- 
joining streets the work of murder had begun. Robbers 
and assassins appeared on the edges of the square. The 
crowds fled in horror. 

For three days and three nights the most hideous 
pogrom ever witnessed in Russia raged. The soldiers 
supported the robbers. 

Strange to relate, we were prepared for this event. 
We knew that the police were agitating among the scum 
of the city, among ex-convicts, burglars, tramps, dis- 
tributing among them incendiary literature, money and 
arms. We knew that rumors were being spread, that 
the Tzar would permit looting the " reds '* and the Jews 
for three days. We only did not know that the machinery 
would be so quickly set in motion. 

We soon learned that the same occurrences were 
repeated, with local variations, all over Russia in 
the first three days after the publication of the 


There was a new term that we then learned : " The 
Black Hundred:' In its feverish search for popular sup- 


port, the government, isolated and compromised, had de- 
cided to create a semblance of such support in the organi- 
zation of hired patriots recruited from the criminal and 
semi-criminal classes. These organizations were given 
every privilege. Their members received rnoney, posi- 
tions and other favors from the administration. Their 
meetings were frequented by high officials. Their actions, 
even the most unlawful, remained unpunished. They 
were actually exempt from any jurisdiction. Should a 
member of the Black Hundred be arrested by mistake, 
the arresting officer was subject to reprimand. In the 
years that followed, the Tzar himself was a member of 
the Black Hundred, and he and the little heir of the 
throne wore the emblem of this organization. Officially, 
the Black Hundreds were known as the " Association of 
the Russian People '' and the " Association to combat the 
Revolution." Their membership was ridiculously small 
in comparison with the role they played in the destinies 
of Russia. It was only through the support of the gov- 
ernment that they could be a menace to the people. Yet, 
they gave the government an opportunity to assert 
that it was upheld by the people. At a command 
from the men higher up, the Black Hundred com- 
mittees organized patriotic demonstrations, petitions, 
patriotic church services, and, in case of urgent necessity, 

It was due to this organization that the government 
was able to supplement the October manifesto by a series 
of massacres on a very large scale. The slogan was: 
" Strike the intellectuals and the Jews," — the Intellectuals, 
because they were the leaders of the revolutions ; the Jews, 
because they were largely represented in all the revo- 
lutionary organizations and because the practice of Jew- 
ish pogroms was an established one in Russia. The num- 
ber of places where pogroms took place in the first two 
or three weeks after the manifesto, was over a hundred; 
the number of persons killed in those pogroms, — 3,500- 


4,000; the number of wounded, over 10,000.* The mas- 
sacre of Tomsk must be especially mentioned. In this 
city 150 were killed, 50 wounded and 1,000 burned. 
There was a meeting of citizens in Tomsk celebrating 
the manifesto. Throngs of people returning from the 
meeting were encountered by a procession of the Black 
Hundred. The citizens were unarmed. They fled into 
the theater and one of the railroad buildings. The 
" patriots '' surrounded both buildings and set them on 
fire. Those who tried to escape were killed. Soldiers 
appeared on the scene and began to fire through the win- 
dows of the burning theater. Not far away, the governor 
was standing on the balcony of his palace calmly observ- 
ing the battlefield; in the nearby cathedral the priests 
continued their service. 

In this way old Russia showed that it was not dead, 
that it was going to struggle for its existence. Young 
Russia, however, was still confident. It began to act as 
if absolutism were really broken. The revolutionary or- 
ganizations left their *' underground '* abodes and estab- 
lished themselves openly in the face of the administration. 
Political clubs began to organize. Labor unions sprang 
up almost every day. The press threw off the censorship. 
In many cities the revolutionary crowds opened the 
prisons and freed the confined revolutionists. The 
clamor for a political amnesty was so unanimous and so 
loud that the government was compelled to declare, on 
October 21st, a partial amnesty. On November 3rd, the 
government, to pacify the peasants, abolished all the re-i*' 
maining redemption-payments. On November 24th, cen- 
sorship was legally abandoned by an administrative de- 
cree. Russia was impetuously organizing. Part of the 
Zemstvo liberals, together with other intellectuals, formed 
a liberal political party under the name Constitutional 

*V. Obninski, Half a Year of Russian Revolution, p. 42- Corrobo- 
rated by E. Mayevski in the collection on Social Movements, Vol. II, 
Book 1, p. 103. 


Democrats ('* C. D.") with a very radical program. 
Another part of the Zemstvo liberals, together with rep- 
resentatives of industry and trade, formed the party of 
Octobrists with a more moderate liberal program. Many 
other parties sprang up which had only a short life. Each 
party had its organs. Newspapers and other publications 
spoke now in a language hitherto used only by the illegal 
press. It seemed that Russia had entered a new era 
and was making rapid progress on her way towards a 
happy future. Again and again, however, new Russia 
found itself in conflict with the power of the old regime, 
and as of old every step of freedom was accompanied 
by bloodshed and lawless oppression. 

The situation in Russia after the manifesto is very 
well characterized in a contemporary publication: 

" And now we have been granted a constitution. 

" We have been granted freedom of meetings, yet 
meetings are being surrounded by soldiers. 

" We have been granted freedom of speech, yet the 
censorship remains unshaken. 

** We have been granted freedom of knowledge, yet the 
universities are occupied by military force. 

" We have been granted personal inviolability, yet the 
jails are full of prisoners. 

" We have been granted a constitution, yet autocracy 

** We have been granted everything, and we have been 
granted nothing." * 

October and November, 1905, were the crucial mo- 
ment in the history of the revolution. Autocracy was 
shaken, but not yet broken. Russia was legally free, but 
freedom still had to be secured by the people. The 
government itself was not confident. The army showed 
signs of unrest. The outbreaks of mutinies among the 

* Bulletins of the Council of Labor Delegates, October 20, 1905. 


troops were partly due to the defeat in the Japanese war 
and the subsequent demoralization of the army, partly 
to the general unrest in the country. In Sebastopol the 
marines organized a Council of Delegates and held 
revolutionary meetings, sometimes jointly with labor or- 
ganizations. In Grodno, Voronesh, Kiev, Moscow, 
Kursk, Ekaterinodar, Warsaw, Riga and other cities, 
the troops openly broke the military discipline, demanded 
improvements in barrack-life and condemned the arro- 
gance of their superiors. In Baranovitchi they marched 
in the streets singing revolutionary songs. In Tiflis they 
freed from prison a number of revolutionists sentenced 
to death. In Kursk, Batum and some other places they 
fought battles with the loyal units. The movement was 
partly political, partly due to a mere riotous spirit. 
It was promptly quelled, yet the government was not cer- 
tain of the future. 

Who would ultimately win ? Which side would prove 
the stronger? 

This great question faced the country immediately after 
the October strike. The government was gradually re- 
covering from the panic. It had given promises, great 
and solemn promises, but it did not propose to consider 
them binding unless compelled to do so. At this junc- 
ture, unity of the revolutionary front was more urgent 
than at any moment before. The ice was broken. Autoc- 
racy was weakened. The time had come to hammer and 
hammer the shaken structure until it should fall to pieces. 

Unfortunately, a split in the ranks of the revolution 
manifested itself immediately after the half-victory of 
October. New Russia could offer no united front. 


** His Proletarian Majesty, the Workingman of all 
the Russlas." This was the inscription on the first car- 
toon of the first magazine of political satire in Russia 
after the issuance of the manifesto. The working-class 
of Russia seemed all powerful. The working-class of 
Russia had carried out the general October strike. The 
working-class had brought the old order to its knees. 
The working-class had not waited to get permission from 
the authorities, but speedily and resolutely, amid the 
noise and the din of the general strike, established its own 
representation, the Council of Workmen Deputies, a sort 
of revolutionary self-government of Petersburg labor. 

The Council held its first meeting on October 13th. 
On October 15th the number of its delegates was 226, 
representing ninety-six industrial concerns and five labor 
unions. A month later, the number of delegates was 562, 
representing 147 factories, thirty- four shops and sixteen 
labor unions. The Social-Democratic and Social-Revolu- 
tionary parties had their special representatives in the 

The Council was the leading body of the Petersburg 
workingmen, and, after the establishment of similar 
councils throughout the country, which followed the 
policies of their mother-council in Petersburg, it became, 
in a way, the leading body of all Russian labor. The 
J Council ignored the existing government. It gave revo- 
lutionary orders to the workingmen of the country. It 
kept a watchful eye on political events. It was supposed 
to be the center of all revolutionary movements. 

On October 14th the Council demanded that the city 


"His Proletarian Majesty, the Workingman of All the Russias" 


administration should provide the strikers with food, 
meeting-halls and money for armament. On October 
15th it ordered all stores to join the strike, with the ex- 
ception of food stores, which had to be kept open from 
8 to II A.M. On October 17th it ordered the strikers, 
in view of their depressed economic condition, to abstain 
temporarily from paying rent or grocery-bills. After 
the publication of the manifesto, the Council demanded 
that the military forces should be removed from Peters- 
burg, that a national guard should be established, that 
martial law should be abrogated and that a Constitu- 
tional Convention should be immediately called. Until 
then, it decided, the general strike should be continued. 
" The fight for all these demands," the resolution reads, 
" must be carried on. The Workmen's Council, there- 
fore, deems it necessary that the strike should be con- 
tinued until circumstances indicate the necessity of alter- 
ing our tactics.** This was decided on October 17th; and 
on October 20th the Council, seeing that the strike was 
weakening, adopted a resolution reading thus : '* In view 
of the necessity for the working-class to organize on the 
basis of its achieved victories and to arm for a final 
struggle for a Constituent Assembly on the basis of uni- 
versal, equal, direct and secret suffrage which is to estab- 
lish a democratic republic, the Council of Workmen 
Delegates orders that the political strike be stopped at 
noon, October 21st. The Council is confident, however, 
that, should it be required by further developments, the 
workingmen will resume the strike as willingly and as 
devotedly as heretofore." 

In these two resolutions, of October 17th and October 
20th, all the precariousness of the Council's situation is 
reflected. The Council was supposed to continue the 
revolution. The idea of armed resistance was prevailing. 
The Executive Committee of the Workmen's Council 
even purchased revolvers and guns which it distributed 
among the workingmen. But, what could those arms 


amount to against the machine-guns and rifles of the regu- 
lar army? Only extreme enthusiasts could hope to win 
battles in street fights against the government as long as 
the army remained loyal. The only effective weapon in 
the hand of the Council was the general strike. This 
weapon, however, is of such a character that the oftener 
and the longer it is used the less sharp its edge is ren- 
dered. The Council did not seem to realize this simple 
truth. It did not take into consideration that, without 
strike funds, without firm organizations, without the 
habit of discipline, the workingmen of Russia, fatigued 
by nearly a year of continual strikes, could not go on 
striking for longer periods. In this respect, as in many 
others, the Council only appeared to be leading, being 
in reality swept by the current of political emotions. It 
overestimated the strength of the workingmen, while 
underestimating the obstacles. This led to bitter dis- 

On October 29th, influenced by the actions of many 
workingmen who forcibly introduced the eight-hour 
work-day in their factories, the Council decreed: "Be- 
ginning October 31st, all factories and shops must join 
the fight for an eight-hour work-day, introducing it in all 
factories and shops in a revolutionary way." The argu- 
ment of a few members that an eight-hour work-day 
could not be established on short notice (one day!) and 
could not be introduced in Petersburg alone when in the 
rest of the country labor hours were longer, was ignored 
by the Council. ** Without debate, without careful con- 
sideration by the Executive Committee, the Council 
adopted the eight-hour work-day resolution par acclama- 
tionJ' Mr. Chrustalev-Nosar, the president of the 
Council, relates.* The resolution could not be carried 
out. The employees united in opposition to it. The 
greatest factories of Petersburg declared a lockout, and 
closed. Labor meetings on factory premises were for- 

* History of the Council of Workmen Deputies, p. 103. 


bidden. Factory buildings were guarded by soldiers. 
Armies of workingmen were left to starvation. Many 
workingmen, in despair, decided to resume work on 
former conditions (nine and ten hours). The Council 
then decided, on November 12th, to repeal its decision. 
" The government, headed by Count Witte,'' the resolu- 
tion says, " in its endeavor to break the vigor of the 
revolutionary proletariat, came to the support of capital, 
thus turning the question of an eight-hour work-day in 
Petersburg into a national problem. The consequence 
has been, that the workingmen of Petersburg are unable 
now, apart from the workingmen of the entire country, 
to realize the decree of the Council (concerning an eight- 
hour work-day). The Council of Workmen Delegates, 
therefore, deems It necessary to stop temporarily the im- 
mediate and general establishment of an eight-hour work- 
day by force." 

This was not the first nor the last of the Council's 

On November ist, thirteen days after the official end 
of the October strike, it ordered a second general strike, 
to begin November 2nd at noon. The strike was called 
in support of the Kronstadt rebellion and as an answer 
to the declaration of martial law In Poland after Octo- 
ber 17th. The resolution of the Council breathes the 
spirit of the time. Here Is Its text : 

*' The government continues to stride over corpses. It 
puts on trial before a court-martial the brave Kronstadt 
soldiers of the army and navy who rose to the defense 
of their rights and of national freedom. It put the noose 
of martial law on the neck of oppressed Poland. 

"The Council of Workmen Delegates calls on the 
revolutionary proletariat of Petersburg to manifest their 
brotherly solidarity with the revolutionary soldiers of 
Kronstadt and with the revolutionary proletarians of 
Poland through a general political strike, which has 


proved to be a formidable power, and through general 
meetings of protest. To-morrow, on November 2nd, at 
noon, the workingmen of Petersburg will stop work, their 
slogans being: 

1. Down with court-martial! 

2. Down with capital punishment! 

3. Down with martial law in Poland and all over 
Russia ! '' 

Simultaneously an appeal was issued to the Petersburg 
garrison to support the strikers. 

This second general strike was at the beginning a 
perfect and complete success. Working Petersburg, in 
a body, responded to the appeal of the Council. But 
now the question arose as to how long the strike should 
be continued. On November 4th the strike already be- 
gan to slacken. On November 5th it became clear that 
a large number of workingmen were ready to return to 
work. The Council then revised its decision of the 
previous day and decreed that the strike should be 
stopped on November 7th, ^ noon. The second general 
strike proved to be a defeat in spite of the unanimous 
support of the revolutionary workingmen. The weapon 
of a general strike was crumbling away. 

In the meantime the government was recovering from 
the shock of October. After a short intermission, arrests, 
house-searchings, attacks on peaceful meetings began 
with renewed zeal all over Russia. After a peasant con- 
vention, the Executive Committee of the Peasants' Union 
v^^ere arrested. Many officials of the post- and telegraph- 
clerks union were put into prison. Martial law was in- 
troduced in many regions. The Black Hundreds were 
doing their work of destruction. 

In Petersburg, the government was still afraid to touch 
the Workmen's Council. On the contrary, it dealt with 
it as if it were a legitimate institution. Count Witte par- 
leyed with delegates of the Council. Other ministers 










often repealed their orders under pressure of the Council. 
The CounciPs tone was that of the general staff of a vic- 
torious revolution. And yet, the chief of police of Peters- 
burg truly reflected the attitude of the government when 
in a proclamation to the population he declared that he 
was " tired of the Council.'' 

The government became more courageous every day. 

On November 26th the president of the Council, 
Chrustalev-Nosar, was arrested. On November 27th 
the Executive Committee of the Council decided to appeal 
to the people to refuse the government recruits and taxes. 
On December 2nd the so-called " Financial Manifesto " 
urging people to pay no taxes, to refuse paper money 
and to withdraw deposits from the government's savings 
banks, was made public. Eight newspapers which re- 
printed the manifesto were immediately confiscated by 
order of the government.* On the same day, December 
2nd, new strike-regulations were published by the govern- 
ment making it a crime to participate in a strike '* men- 
acing the safety of the state or creating a public calamity." 

This was a direct challenge to labor. On December 
3rd the Executive Committee of the Council assembled 
to discuss the question how to meet the challenge. Many 
speakers expressed themselves in favor of a new national 
strike. Information was quoted that the army was full 
of unrest, that the peasants were revolting, that the work- 
ingmen were firmly in favor of a general strike. No 
decision, however, was reached. The session of the 
Executive Committee was interrupted by the arrival of 
a detachment of soldiers. The Committee, and later the 
members of the Council, were imprisoned. 

The Council had existed fifty days. 

The government was now returning to its old methods 
with more recklessness and infinitely deeper cruelty. The 

♦That the "manifesto" touched a vital spot can be seen from the 
fact that the sums taken from the savings banks in December, 1905, were 
96 millions of rubles more than the average for the previous four years. 
This shows the extent of the Council's influence with the masses. 


October promises were in abeyance. The reactionary 
press was clamoring for action. '* How can we expect 
society to uphold the government/' the Novoye Vremya 
asked, *' when the government does absolutely nothing, 
when the conviction is growing that its inactivity is a con- 
scientious, carefully planned method? '* 

The government arrested the representatives of the 
peasants and the representatives of the workingmen. It 
encouraged the Black Hundred. On December ist the 
Tzar received delegations from three Black Hundred 
organizations, thus giving them his imperial sanction. 
Simultaneously the text of a circular sent to all local 
chiefs of police became known. In the circular the gov- 
ernment ordered that " all leaders, instigators and heads 
of the political and agrarian anti-governmental movement, 
and all other persons figuring as delegates, should be 
identified and then arrested and imprisoned in local jails, 
to be treated later in accordance with advices from the 
Minister of the Interior." 

The reactionary Moskovskya Vedomosti hailed ** the 
return of firm authority.'* 

The revolutionary forces were rapidly decreasing. 
This was due, primarily, to the fact that the army, not- 
withstanding numerous rebellions, remained faithful to 
the administration. It is possible and even probable that 
with an army recruited mainly from the ignorant peas- 
ants and stupefied by years of mute unreasoning obe- 
dience, the government in December, 1905, would have 
remained victorious under all circumstances. The victory, 
however, was made much easier by the dissensions and 
disagreements in the progressive ranks. 

The industrial world became disgusted with the revolu- 
tion. The manifesto of October 17th satisfied all its 
desires. The continuous strikes and disturbances were 
undermining industry and commerce. In the summer 
months of 1905 the manufacturers demanded that the 
government should pacify the strikes by political reforms. 


In November and December, 1905, they were ready to 
uphold the government in suppressing the labor-move- 
ment by all means. They saw no end to the strikes, 
they saw no limit to the workingmen's demands. They 
had fought the movement for an eight-hour work-day 
and in most of the cases succeeded. They were ready 
now to fight all revolutionary manifestations, which for 
them meant anarchy, destruction of property, loss of 
profits, and mob rule. In November, the Moscow Cham- 
ber of Commerce telegraphed to Count Witte: ** Be firm; 
bring to a successful end the establishment of the Im- 
perial Duma on the basis of the October manifesto. 
Pay no heed to the demands of the extreme parties." 
Similar encouraging greetings were sent from many 
other merchants' and manufacturers' associations. Alex- 
ander Gutchkov, chairman of the Central Committee of 
the Octobrists party, declared the revolution was " a 
return to moral savagery, a spirit of anarchy. A victory 
of the revolution or even a recurrence of the revolution- 
ary crisis would destroy both our new political liberty 
and the remnants of our wealth and culture." 

The manufacturers and the financial world demanded 
peace, order, quiet. The fact that the political power 
remained in the hands of the old government was for 
them of no great importance. They preferred a firm 
government under Witte to a series of shocks under the 
Workmen's Council. 

The liberals, united in the Constitutional Democratic 
Party, were not less in favor of peace and order. The 
Constitutional Democratic Party comprised many mem- 
bers of the Zemstvo opposition, the secret group '' Eman- 
cipation " and a great number of the participants in the 
intellectual '' Central Union." The Constitutional Demo- 
crats counted in their ranks men of high educational and 
cultural standing, of profound learning and of national 
reputation. They sincerely cherished the idea of free- 
dom and actually hated the autocratic order. But they 


were by no means interested in an eight-hour work-day 
or in similar demands put forward by the working masses. 
On the contrary, in so far as they were connected with 
the well-to-do urban classes, they began to be annoyed 
by the constant disorder, the endless strikes impeding 
production and transportation. In so far as they were 
connected with the land-owning nobility (many of the 
Zemstvo-liberals being land-owners themselves), they 
looked with apprehension on the rising tide of peasant 
revolts. They wanted political freedom and a monarchy 
on a constitutional basis, and the October manifesto in 
their opinion was a material victory. The only sound 
tactics after the October strike, they thought, were or- 
ganization, peace, poise. The declaration of more and 
more general strikes, the call to arms, the numerous re- 
bellions among soldiers, they thought detrimental to the 
cause of the revolution. 

'' Two strike-committees " — was the characterization 
of the two fighting camps in November-December, given 
by the leading thinker of liberal Russia, Peter Struve, 
who had just returned from exile. '* One on the extreme 
left, the other on the extreme right; two enemies, twins, 
the revolutionary workingmen and the bureaucracy. Both 
strive to destroy each other, and both feed on each other. 
Both aim at dictatorship and make mutual agreement im- 
possible.'' ** It is my deep conviction," Struve wrote, 
'' that once an actual and effective agreement as to pro- 
gram and tactics has been reached among the various 
classes and nationalities of Russia, the bureaucracy will 
be overthrown as by a single blow." 

The underlying Idea was that the old regime was going 
to pieces not because of physical exhaustion, but because 
it had lost its moral prestige, because It was decaying 
from within; It had been deserted by Its best men, and 
was psychologically depressed at the sight of the entire 
nation opposing it. The unanimity of the national con- 
demnation was, according to the Constitutional Demo- 


crats, the cause of the administration's defeat. If now 
the elections to the Imperial Duma were to result in a 
unanimously progressive representation, they said, the 
autocratic order would automatically cease to exist. ** If 
the guards of the bureaucracy are anxious to shoot, by all 
means let us confront them with the necessity of firing 
upon the Tauric Palace" (the Imperial Duma), Peter 
Struve wrote in his magazine. The Polar Star, ** Then 
everything will be clear. The people need order, for 
only in order will they fully realize the incompatibility 
between themselves and the governing bureaucracy.'* 

What would be the consequences if, in spite of a 
unanimous condemnation, the bureaucracy still remained 
In power? What would happen if, while the thinking 
people fully realized their incompatibility with the old 
regime, ^' the guards of bureaucracy " still controlled the 
machinery of government and were determined in their 
defiance ? The Constitutional Democrats did not answer 
these questions. They still believed in the human quali- 
ties of the Russian administrators. Let them become con- 
vinced, they thought, that the country is unequivocally 
against them, and they will step aside. There was 
another, perhaps less clear assumption on the side of the 
Constitutional Democrats, namely that the revolution 
would compel the government to look for support among 
the moderate classes and call the liberal parties to power. 
** In order that the reforms proclaimed in the October 
manifesto should receive their adequate, i.e., their revolu- 
tionary, realization," the Polar Star wrote, ** it is necessary 
that the governmental power should pass Into the hands 
of a new class, that the bureaucracy should surrender its 
positions. Into whose hands could the power have been 
transferred? Only Into the hands of the Zemstvo rep- 
resentatives and the " third element," who had been 
united In the '' Emancipation." * 

The Constitutional Democrats were not afraid of the 

♦Isgoyev in the Pohr Star, February 18, 1906. 


revolution as the Octobrists were. They were, perhaps, 
secretly pleased that a revolutionary menace existed. 
But they were Russian intellectuals inclined to substitute 
theory for facts. " In the beginning was the Word." 
Their belief in a word of the nation, not backed by actual 
force, nnade the Constitutional Democrats very bitter 
critics of the revolution. 

Thus the progressive forces were split into warring 

The Zemstvos, the stronghold of liberalism, were now 
lost to the revolution. The apathetic, backward gentry 
who had formerly allowed their progressive neighbors 
to take care of the Zemstvo affairs, were now shaken 
from their indolence by the peasant revolts. For them 
the revolution was not a struggle for ideas or principles 
of government; for them it meant ruin, destruction of 
their estates, devastation of their houses, if not personal 
injury and insult. The gentry flocked into the Zemstvos 
and in November and December, 1905, put an end to the 
progressive aspirations of the latter. Hosts of the ** third 
element,'' physicians, statisticians, agriculturists, editors 
of Zemstvo publications, were discharged as supporters 
of the revolution. Many branches of the Zemstvo 
activities were discontinued. The liberal spirit was ex- 
pelled. The Zemstvos began to declare their support of 
the administration. 

The average city inhabitant of the middle class was 
simply tired of all these excitements and strikes. *' Just 
think of it! *' the Novoye Vremya wrote in November. 
*' Just consider the meaning of all these resolutions of 
printers, bakers, plumbers, druggists, conductors, clerks, 
domestic servants and even physicians. There will come 
a time when, called to your child choking with diphtheria, 
a thousand physicians will only shrug their shoulders, not 
daring to lift a hand or to prescribe a medicine until the 
establishment of universal suffrage in Petersburg. There 
will come a time when millers will shut their mills until 


freedom of the press is established, and the wood mer- 
chants will refuse to sell wood until they are elected to 
Parliament. Some fine morning you will have no rolls 
for your coffee, no water for washing because somewhere 
a political platform has clashed with another. The serv- 
ants will refuse to shine your boots because in some God- 
forsaken town a captain of police has thrown a boot at 
his servant. Try and discharge a drunken chimney- 
sweeper, and the entire corporation of chimney-sweepers 
from Lapland to Ararat will go on strike." 

These lines reflect the mood of the unrevolutionary I 
middle class. 

Towards the beginning of December the labor-move- 
ment was practically alone in the field. It was not free 
from mistakes, either. Its leaders were mainly intel- 
lectuals who had no perfect grasp of reality. The Council 
of Workmen Delegates believed that it held the leader- 
ship, but it was rather a tool in the hands of the masses, 
expressing their moods and wishes. The other revolu- 
tionary organizations, the Social-Democrats and Social- 
Revolutionists, had no clearer outlook as to the future. 
Besides, they lacked the great authority of the Council, 
though the influence of their ideas was extremely large. 
The Socialists, together with the Workmen's Council, 
overestimated the revolutionary power of the working- 
men. There was a strong faction among the Socialists 
who even believed Russia could immediately introduce 
Socialism. The adherents of this idea argued that all 
other classes of Russia were feeble, unorganized, that the 
only strong active class was the proletariat and that in 
case of a victory over absolutism, the power must neces- 
sarily fall into the hands of labor, which, jointly 
with the revolutionary peasants, would not hesitate 
to declare the abolition of private property.* These | 
ideas were earnestly defended in a backward country with 
undeveloped industry, with no habits of organization, at i 

* N. Trotzki, Our Revolution, pp. 245-75 passim. 


a time when the workingmen were getting out of breath 
and the revolutionary onslaughts were undertaken in 
sheer despair. 

The lack^of foresight was natural. The leaders of the 
labor-movement had seen a tide of strikes rising higher 
and higher for a whole year. They had seen a magnificent 
change in the spirit of the masses manifesting itself in 
ever new revolutionary actions. They had seen the gov- 
ernment beside itself for a while. And they believed the 
great struggle could be continued in the same spirit. They 
called for an armed insurrection. They were going to 
conduct it alone. 

Their efforts were doomed to failure. 

The great national movement of 1905, culminating in 
the national October strike, supported by all groups and 
political organizations for various reasons, was now at an 
end. The revolution was dead, though it still shook with 
violent convulsions. 



The revolutionary workingmen decided to wage with 
autocracy a last decisive battle. 

The Petersburg Workmen's Committee, newly elected 
after the arrest of the Executive Committee on Decem- 
ber 3rd, decided for a general strike. The Petersburg 
Union of railway employees joined. An appeal was 
issued to the nation. The Moscow Council of Workmen 
Delegates upheld the decision. A conference of rep- 
resentatives of twenty-nine railroad lines issued a call to 
strike. No special preparations were made. No central 
body to conduct the tremendous strike was in existence. 
No definite term for ending the strike was fixed. The 
Bulletin of the Workmen's Council held the view that the 
strike must turn into an armed revolution. " The Mos- 
cow Workmen's Council," it stated, " declared a general 
political strike to begin on Wednesday, December 7th; the 
aim is to transform it into an armed insurrection." 

The revolution had no arms. The government was 
armed to the teeth. The revolution had no resources. 
The government was making vast preparations to meet 
the attack. Yet the decision of the labor-organizations 
was not entirely out of keeping with the situation, and the 
plan of a general insurrection was not Utopian, as was 
proven by many developments of the December strike, 
especially in Moscow. 

In Moscow there reigned a state of armed rebellion 
for more than a week. The people themselves, and not 
merely those aflfiliated with revolutionary organizations, 
erected hundreds of barricades, behind which the armed 
revolutionary groups offered resistance. Many houses 



were turned into armed revolutionary posts; from the 
roofs of buildings bombs were thrown on the troops; 
from the windows of houses volleys were fired on the 
soldiers. In a few places detachments of soldiers were 
surrounded and disarmed; in many places the soldiers' 
attacks were beaten off. The huge city was a battlefield 
for many days and nights. The troops resorted to 
artillery fire. Machine-guns and cannon were continually 
fired along the streets. Houses giving protection to revo- 
lutionists were bombarded and set on fire. Whole city 
districts were shattered and destroyed by artillery shells. 
The number of citizens killed in the battles was 1,059, 
the number of soldiers thirty-five. As to the wounded, 
their number could not be ascertained, many citizens 
hiding their wounded for fear of arrests. 

In many other cities and localities armed insurrections 
took place. In Nikolayev the city was for several days 
in the hands of an armed citizens' militia. In Novoros- 
siysk the Workmen's Council was for a time the only 
organized power. In Pyatigorsk, a citizens' committee, 
encouraged by a neutral attitude of the local garrison, 
took possession of the governmental affairs; the police 
were discharged and disarmed; the troops willingly sur- 
rendered their arms to the people. An armed militia 
under the red flag protected peace and order. Similar 
developments took place in Georgievsk, Vladikavkaz, 
Kutaiss, Batum, Sochi and many other Caucasian cities. 
In the Donetz region, along the Ekaterininskaya rail- 
road lines, the workingmen formed armed camps, barri- 
caded the stations to impede the transportation of troops, 
and in some places besieged the soldiers' barracks, com- 
pelling them to surrender. 

In Rostov-on-Don bloody fights between the revolu- 
tionists and the troops continued for several days. The 
revolutionists used dynamite and revolvers, the troops 
fired cannon and machine-guns. The battles were espe- 
cially severe in one of the suburbs inhabited by working- 


men. Similar insurrections took place in Sormovo, Moto- 
vilicha and other towns. The Baltic province, where the 
Lettish working population in towns and on the farms 
was imbued with an unflinching revolutionary spirit, were 
turned into one great battlefield. Revolutionary insur- 
rections in the cities were accompanied by revolutionary 
attacks on the landed estates and baronial castles of the 
local German aristocracy. The Letts proved to be a 
strongly organized and well-disciplined revolutionary 
army having numbers of skilful sharpshooters at its com- 
mand. Numerous revolutionary upheavals took place 
along the Siberian railroad line. 

As to the other regions of the country, the general 
December strike took on less violent forms. It was, 
however, quite successful. Only in Petersburg was the 
strike comparatively weak. In all the other industrial 
centers the working population readily responded to the 
call and stopped work. An overwhelming majority of 
the railway lines also went on strike. 

In its scope, the December strike was perhaps not in- 
ferior to the October strike. In its outburst of revolu- 
tionary energy it was perhaps stronger. And yet, it was 
doomed to failure. It lacked the spontaneity and novelty 
of the October strike. It lacked the support of all th^ 
other progressive groups. And it was faced by a govern- 
ment which had perfectly regained its self-assurance. 

The December strike was soon quelled everywhere by 

military force. 

At the same time the peasant revolts were still going 
on in their usual unorganized way. In many instances 
the peasants showed signs of political understanding and 
an inclination towards concerted action. ^ In the ma- 
jority of cases, however, their dissatisfaction expressed 
itself in violent attacks on the landlords, in burning and 
robbing. During the fall of 1905, in nineteen provinces 
alone 2,000 landed estates were destroyed, their value 
amounting to 29 millions of rubles. The landlords 


flocked from their country homes into the cities, cursing 
the revolutionary movement, urging the administration 
to act 

I Then began the most atrocious chapter of the Russian 
revolution — the period of vengeance. The country was 
|veiled in a bloody mist. The population was terrorized. 
Hatred, cruelty and thirst for revenge turned human 
beings into fiendish, uncanny beasts. The government 
had only one end in mind, — to punish its foes. The 
country being full of revolutionists and radicals, who 
after October 17th had everywhere acted openly, the 
work of punishment was enormous. 

The government began a series of arrests. It im- 
prisoned those who belonged to a revolutionary organi- 
zation; it imprisoned those who had addressed meetings 
or led demonstrations in the *' days of freedom " (Octo- 
ber and November) ; it imprisoned the strike-committees 
and all those who attended conferences, conventions or 
councils of workingmen, of peasants, of professionals, of 
railroad employees; it imprisoned writers, reporters, 
editors of newspapers, preachers, soldiers, officers. It 
imprisoned every one whom it suspected of having given 
aid and comfort to its enemies. It filled all the prisons 
beyond their capacity; it sent tens of thousands to Siberia; 
it rented special houses to serve as prisons. It established 
courts-martial all over the country to try the most serious 
offenders, and the sentence was usually death, death, 

One should not be astonished at the sight of these hor- 
rors. They were a natural outcome of a year of revolu- 
tion. The administration and the army officers hated the 
revolutionists as their personal enemies. For a whole 
year every administrator, high or low, lived in constant 
fear of a revolutionary bullet. Scores of generals, chiefs 
of police, gendarmerie officers and other officials of rank 
were assassinated; thousands of police officers were at- 
tacked and murdered in the streets. Those who were 


conspicuous in their support of the old regime were 
doomed to an almost certain death. And each death 
created a deeper fright among the friends and acquaint- 
ances, superiors and subordinates of the officer executed 
by the revolution. 

There was another reason for the venomous hatred of 
the administrators. During October and November the 
power had slipped out of their hands. They, Russian 
Tchinovnicks as they were, bred in the belief that a 
social movement of any kind was a punishable " dis- 
turbance," had had to witness revolutionary crowds mov- 
ing freely in the streets, stopping traffic, closing shops, 
opening prisons, organizing meetings, carrying red flags, 
sometimes disarming policemen. They had witnessed all 
these obnoxious activities and had had to keep quiet. 
This was quite intolerable. When the writer of these 
lines, who for a year had been hiding from the gendarmes 
under a false name and in disguise, brazenly walked in 
October, 1905, into the office of the gendarmerie officer 
in charge of his case, asking for his papers, the officer 
met him with a look full of unspeakable hatred; yet he 
quietly unlocked a safe and returned the demanded docu- 
ments. The case was dismissed by the revolution. The 
officer was defeated, for a time. The system of detec- 
tives was disorganized. When, a few weeks later, the 
same officer was in charge of a new case against the 
same person, he did not forget the day of his 

This spirit of personal vengeance characterized the 
punitive actions of the administration after the December 
rebellions. The court-martial was prejudiced against the 
defendants. The administrative courts (if courts they 
could be called) did not care to distinguish between inno- 
cent and guilty. The system of imprisoning persons 
*' pending the investigation of the causes of their arrest " 
again became prevalent. Between October, 1905, and 
April, 1906, the number of persons imprisoned or sent 


to Siberia by order of the administration, in the majority 
of cases without any trial, amounted to seventy thousand.'^ 
Nearly every morning a number of men, women and 
young boys were hanged. The number of executed be- 
came a regular news item in the papers. 

More vicious even than the court-martial were the 
punitive expeditions. Those were army units sent under 
the command of a general or a colonel to punish the 
population of an entire district or a province or a city 
where the revolutionary outbursts or the peasant revolts 
had been strongest. 

We have quoted above (p. 70) the order given by 
\lColonel Mien to Colonel Rieman heading a punitive 
Wpedition to act along the Moscow-Kazan railroad line. 
The spirit of the expedition is expressed in the command 
" to make no prisoners and to act mercilessly.^* Colonel 
Rieman with his soldiers rode from station to station, 
killing the station-masters without trial, opening fire on 
casual onlookers who happened to be on the station plat- 
form, entering houses and killing peaceful citizens. Col- 
onel Rieman was supposed to unearth and punish the 
armed rebels and strike-leaders. The latter, however, 
had had time to escape, and the horrors of cruel death 
were inflicted on innocent persons. 

Here are a few scenes described by one who made a 
careful investigation of the expedition's bloody triumphs: 

** Half a mile from the station Perovo, the soldier- 
train met on the side tracks a large number of peasants 
who were unloading what remained of the contents of a 
freight car. They paid little attention to the approach- 
ing train. True, they had been warned by the Perovo in- 
habitants that Cossacks were expected, but they did not 
believe it. Of what use could the Cossacks be now? The 
goods were nearly all removed; nobody had interfered 
from the beginning. Why should they care now when 

* V. Obninski, Half a Year of Russian Revolution, p. 132. Quoted in 
Social Movement, Vol. II, Part II, p. 177. 


nothing remained? The peasants had come from a dis- 
tance of a hundred versts. 

" Their good humor was dispelled by volleys from the 
windows of the slowly approaching train. The horses 
and many men fell, blood-stained, on the snow. 

" The shooting was furious; the soldiers sprang out of 
the cars and scattered over the tracks, firing upon the 
fleeing peasants. A group of peasants rushed to the 
left of them, through an open space, hoping to reach 
the nearby woods. Their hope was vain. The bullets 
were quicker, and many remained on the spot. Only a 
few reached the woods and escaped death. The number 
of the dead was 53-57. 

" When the expedition reached the station, Orlovski, 
the station-master's assistant, was on the platform. When 
he saw everybody driven away from the platform and 
the soldiers take possession of the apparatus, the signal 
devices and the management of the station, believing that 
there was nothing he could do, he went home to tell his 
wife that he was safe. He stayed at home about a quarter 
of an hour and returned to the station. He did not guess 
that those fifteen minutes were the last he would ever 
give to his wife. The next day his unfortunate widow re- 
ceived the mutilated, disfigured corpse of her husband. 

'* The body was disfigured to such a degree that had it 
not been for the clothes it could not have been recognized. 
The face had been stabbed all over by bayonets. The 
eye-sockets were pierced through to the brain. The chin, 
the cheeks and the nose were one bloody mask. 

** It was when Orlovski was approaching the station, 
after he had climbed the stairs that Colonel Rieman 
ordered him to be shot. Several bullets penetrated his 
body. When he fell down, he was still alive. The rest 
was done by bayonets. The soldiers lifted him into a car, 
and it was not till the next morning that the station em- 
ployees brought the body to the young widow. 

** Having thus disposed of Orlovski, Rieman encoun- 


tered on the station another assistant of the head-master, 
Larionov, who was on duty. Larionov was just return- 
ing from the side-tracks whither he had directed the sol- 
diers' train. Rieman noticed his uniform and asked : 

*' * Are you assistant Lorinov? ' 

'' ' Yes.' 

" * Come into my room.' 

" A few minutes later they came out of the room. In 
a loud voice the colonel gave the command: 

" ' Follow me.' 

" A few steps further on there stood four soldiers. It 
was near the little ladder. Rieman shouted fiercely: 

*' ' Bayonet him ! ' 

" The first blow hit the backbone. Larionov fell to the 
ground in terrific agony, crying, begging for mercy. 
Other blows followed. When he was dead, Rieman, in 
order to be perfectly sure, fired a revolver into the dead 
body. Thus Larionov after his death was granted the 
mercy he begged for while alive: to be killed instantly 
in order to avoid the intolerable pain." 

It was the same Colonel Rieman who, searching one 
of the houses in the presence of an old woman and her 
two young sons, drew a revolver and said to the woman : 

" Step aside, grandma." 

The woman refusing to do so, he pushed her aside with 
his left hand while with the right he fired a shot at her 
son, who fell dead to the ground. The boy was as inno- 
cent as any average Russian. He had nothing to do 
with the revolution except, perhaps, that he had expressed 
sympathy with the strikers.* 

Colonel Rieman was no exception. The " punitive ex- 
peditions," subject to no control and exempt even from the 
laws of the autocratic government, behaved in Russia 
far worse than foreign conquerors are wont to behave in 
invaded countries. *' To make no prisoners and to act 

*V. Vladimirov, The Punitive Expedition of the Semyonovski Regi- 
ment on the Moscoiv-Kazan Railroad Line, pp. 17-34 passim. 


mercilessly ^' was the common practice. General Bauer, 
head of a punitive expedition in one of the Caucasian 
districts, announced in his proclamation to the population : 
*' Every violation of or a failure to comply with the 
orders will be followed by destruction and annihilation 
of entire villages, without discrimination between the 
innocent and the guilty." '* If only a single rifle, dagger 
or other weapon is not handed over," the proclamation 
continues, ** if only a single criminal is not surrendered, 
if one recruit fails to present himself in due time or one 
duty is not fulfilled, etc., troops will be sent into that vil- 
lage, not to punish or disarm the population, etc., but 
with the sole purpose of leveling the village with the 
ground." General Rennenkampf, head of a punitive ex- 
pedition on the Siberian railroad line, announced to the 
population: '* In case of any attempt on the life of those 
belonging to my suite, the gendarmes or the railroad 
guards, all the prisoners and all those previously sent to 
jail will be seized as hostages and put to death an hour 
after the attempt." * 

These proclamations were not mere threats. The his- 
tory of the winter and summer of 1906 and many fol- 
lowing months is a chronicle of the promiscuous shooting 
and killing of men and women without any trace of legal 
procedure. After the arrival of a punitive expedition at 
its place of destination, the local secret police handed the 
head of the expedition a list of '' suspects." The " sus- 
pects " were immediately arrested, part of them being 
sent to the nearest prison, while the more ** dangerous 
characters " were separated, taken out of town, and shot. 
In addition, heavy indemnities were imposed on the local 

In an Interpellation to the government, presented in 
the Duma by the Social-Democratic faction on May 2, 
1908, the following facts are quoted: " Between the mid- 

* E. Mayevski, " General Outline of the Movement," 1904-07, in 
Social Movement, Vol. II, Part I, p. 176. 


die of December, 1905, and the first of June, 1906, ac- 
cording to data that are far from complete, the punitive 
expeditions under Generals Orlov, Bezobrazov, Ver- 
shinin, Wendt, Solonina and others in the Lettish districts 
of the Baltic provinces alone shot, hanged and otherwise 
killed, without trial and without any provocation, 1,170 
peasants, farmers and their journeymen, and burned over 
300 peasants' estates, together with personal property 
estimated at 2,000,000 of rubles, not counting damages 
caused by requisition, robberies and other unlawful ac- 
tions of the punitive expeditions and the administration. 
The number of those punished with whips and rods could 
not be ascertained; it exceeded, however, several times 
the number of killed." 

The punitive expeditions presented a picture of terrors 
infrequent even in war time. The population of the dis- 
trict covered by the punitive expedition was entirely in 
the hands of the commanding officer and the soldiery. 
The soldiers were usually stationed in the houses of the 
peasants, who were obliged to accommodate them. This 
meant additional humiliation and injury to the popula- 
tion. The violation of women was a continual feature 
of the expeditions. " Official documents record a long 
series of facts which make the darkest pages of the his- 
tory of colonial wars look less atrocious. Every woman 
who was incautious enough to fall into the hands of the 
soldiers was subject to violation, neither age nor sickness 
being able to protect her. Cases are quoted where little 
girls and feeble old women, pregnant and paralytic 
women were outraged. Many details are of such a char- 
acter that the psychic normality of those committing the 
acts are under question.'' * 

The revolutionists, practically all those opposed to the 
old regime, were declared outlaws. A Russian jurist of 
moderate political views, V. A. Maklakov, could find 
no other name than murder for the executions of 

\ * V. Obninski, The Neiv Order, Vol. I, p. 94. 


revolutionists by court-martial and punitive expeditions. 
^* I call those executions murder/' he wrote, ** and this 
is not rhetoric. Let the common language call them ex- 
ecutions, for the jurist they are murder. Execution dif- 
fers from simple murder not by its arm but by its form. 
No motives of national or social necessity can turn mur- 
der into legal execution." * 

Among the ** executed '' were often boys of sixteen or 
seventeen, who, swept by the current, had committed revo- 
lutionary acts. Later, the number of ** expropriations,'' 
i.e., armed attacks on private citizens, offices and banks, 
undertaken by private groups or individuals under the 
disguise of revolutionary factions, in reality pursuing the 
aim of robbery for private interests, increased enor- 
mously. The government treated all those ** expropria- 
tors " as revolutionists and terrorists, which in the ma- 
jority of the cases meant death. 

The Black Hundred was now free to act at will. 
The leaders of the Black Hundred criticized governors 
and judges, appealed to the Tzar for drastic measures 
against the revolutionists, and staged pogroms or attacks 
on '* undesirable " individuals. As was revealed later, 
many of the proclamations spread by the Black Hundred 
were printed in the Police Department of the Ministry 
of the Interior under supervision of a specially assigned 
gendarmerie officer. Here are excerpts from one of 
them: ** Can we tolerate it any more, that the revolution- 
ists are in power in Petersburg and do not allow our 
Tzar to make public the liberties he has granted? Re- 
cently those outcasts of humanity, the Social-Democrats 
and Socialist-Revolutionists, even succeeded in wounding 
our Tzar, the little father, whose hair has become gray 
from sorrow. Therefore, great Russian people, arise, 
wake up, form bands, arm yourselves with firearms, 
scythes, pitchforks and rush to the defense of our Tzar, 
our Fatherland and the Orthodox Church." 

*Law, 1905, No. 42. 


The " scythes " and " pitchforks '' were only a figure of 
speech. The Black Hundred organizations were provided 
by the administration with a sufficient number of revolvers 
to be able to attack successfully the ** red flag scoundrels '* 
and the intellectuals in general. The local administrators 
made it their duty to protect the Black Hundred. They 
were compelled to do so, on pain of being removed 
from their positions as " politically unreliable '' char- 
acters. The co-operation of the local authorities and the 
local pogrom-makers became a permanent feature of the 
years to come. When in Odessa a deputation complained 
to General Kaulbars of the vicious actions of the *' Union 
of Russian People/' the general frankly replied that he 
was going to aid the Union, and that he would see to it 
that new branches were opened. Were any member of 
the Union attacked, he added, he would flood Odessa with 

The country groaned. The reign of terror drove the 
popular organizations back '* underground '' or destroyed 
them entirely. Meetings became less frequent, in many 
places disappearing entirely. The press was strangled. 
The labor unions were shattered. The *' unions " of pro- 
fessionals were dead. The great hopes were broken. 
The fighting spirit decreased from day to day. Despair 
crept into the heart of many a brave fighter. From the 
Great Revolution nothing seemed to remain but scaffolds 
at dawn and prisons full of victims. 


Yet something immensely valuable remained after the 
Great Upheaval. There remained the legally recognized 
civic freedom^ and a legally recognized constitutional 
order embodied in the institution of the Imperial 

The civic freedom was only a claim. The government 
tried to erase the very memory of the October manifesto. 
It went so far as to suppress newspapers for comment- 
ing on the manifesto. On the eve of the anniversary of 
October 17th, a Russian administrator, the Governor of 
Tiflis, made it known through placards that '* no meet- 
ings, manifestations or processions on October 17th would 
be tolerated; that gatherings of all sorts would be dis- 
persed by military force and that participants in such 
gatherings, not annihilated by the troops, would be 
arrested and tried by field court-martial." Personal in- 
violability and all the other liberal principles that had 
been declared in the manifesto, sounded like a mockery 
amid the din of shooting and the devastations of the 
punitive expeditions. Yet these principles had been de- 
clared. The government did not repeal them, did not 
dare to repeal them. The country felt the actions of the 
administration as unlawful. One could silence the dis- 
satisfied; one could frighten political adversaries, but one 
could not make the citizen believe that the victorious gov- 
ernment was right. 

Nor was it possible entirely to annihilate the achieve- 
ments of the " days of freedom." The press was labor- 
ing under a severe pressure, yet no power in the world 
could force the writers to return to the humble tone of 



the pre-revolutionary period. Political organizations of 
a radical character were under ban, yet the masses of the 
population grew to know them and to affiliate themselves 
with one or the other in times of election. The calling 
of political meetings or conventions was forbidden, ex- 
cept for the " loyal " organizations, yet the old methods 
of ^* underground '' activity were now psychologically im- 
possible ; the people had learned to appreciate open polit- 
ical campaigns, and seized every opportunity to appear 
*' legally '* in the open air of public life. Professional 
and labor unions were treated like so many nests of con- 
spiracy and sedition, yet the impulse to unite was so In- 
tense and the advantages of organization so manifest 
that the return to the state of ** human dust '' was now 
Utopian. The whole attitude of the country towards 
political liberty had changed. The people knew now 
that they had a right to be free, that they had won their 
right in fierce struggles. Even the peasants, ignorant and 
primitive as most of them had been, had changed con- 
siderably under the influence of the revolution. The 
average peasant began to think politically, to question, to 
draw conclusions. The peasants of 1906 were far more 
"^^ advanced politically than they had been at the beginning 
of their movements. Many of them were now capable 
of organization, of concerted action. Many had become 
readers of the press and adherents of radical political 

The revolution was defeated, yet civic freedom lived 
in the minds and In the attitude of the people. The 
revolution was dead, yet the Institution of the Duma 
survived as a political reality of great organizing power. 
The government was utterly unfitted to co-operate with 
a political representation of the people. In fact, it was 
planning to ignore the Duma entirely or to curb It. Yet 
it had not the courage to abandon representation entirely. 
Ij Legally, ** no law could become binding without the con- 
'\ sent of the Imperial Duma," and the latter had a right 


to control the unlawful actions of the administration. 
This was the great inheritance of the great movement. 

The Duma had to stay. 

The first elections passed under a double pressure: 
from the government and the Socialist parties. The gov- 
ernment saw In the Duma a stronghold of the revolution. 
The Socialist parties saw in it a compromise with the 
autocratic order. Firmly convinced that a new gre^t - 
upheaval was impending, the extreme parties considered 
participation in the Duma a surrender, a resignation of 
revolutionary ideas. They, therefore, conducted a strong 
agitation in favor of boycotting the Duma. 

It was, perhaps, due to this agitation that the govern- 
ment did not suppress the other progressive parties par- 
ticipating in the election campaign, as severely as it did 
later. The Constitutional Democrats and other pro- 
gressive factions were strenuously opposed to the atti- 
tude of the extremists. The Constitutional Democrats^/ 
saw in a unanimously progressive Duma the most effective 
weapon against the autocratic order. The policy of boy- 
cotting the Duma they thought suicidal for the revolu- 
tion. They mobilized all their forces to conduct a vigor- 
ous campaign. 

The government, in its turn, mobilized the Black Hun- 
dred and other '* dark forces " to help to elect candi- 
dates pledged to the existing order. The machinery of 
the administration was entirely at their disposal. The 
government still cherished a hope that the majority of 
the Duma, particularly the representatives of the back- 
ward peasants, would be loyal to the administration. The 
suffrage was by no means universal. The population was 
divided into groups according to property and occupa- 
tion : nobility, peasants, wealthy inhabitants of the cities, 
poorer inhabitants of the cities, the latter group com- 
prising all propertyless citizens who could afford to rent 
a flat. The factory workingmen formed a special group. 
Each group in each province elected a certain number of 


province electors, who, in their totality, formed the 
provincial electoral body to elect from among them- 
selves representatives to the Duma. The number of 
electors alloted to each group was arbitrarily fixed with- 
out any relation to the number of the voters in the group: 
Thus, the workingmen received very few electors, while 
to the landlords and the peasants were secured a very 
large number. The government hoped that the com- 
bined electorate of the landlords and the peasants 
would secure reactionary candidates in many parts of the 

The returns surprised the most optimistic expectations. 
The overwhelming majority of the Duma was outspok- 
enly of the opposition. The party affiliations of the depu* 
^' ties were: 178 Constitutional Democrats, 116 semi- 
Socialist representatives of the peasantry who in the 
Duma formed the '' Labor faction," 63 " Autonomists,'' 
— liberal representatives of the border provinces, a score 
or more of Socialists, and only 28 supporters of the ad'^ 

Liberal Russia hailed the results of the election. 
The day fixed for the opening of the Duma, April 
27, 1906, was welcomed as the greatest in Russian 
history. The country had spoken. The government 
would be compelled to yield to the voice of the 

Yet, there was something pathetic in the situation of 
the Duma. A few days before April 27th, the govern- 
ment published the new fundamental laws of the state, 
the Constitution of Russia, including the representative 
bodies of the Duma and the Imperial Council (upper 
chamber). This offered plain evidence that the govern- 
ment did not intend to co-operate with the Duma in the 
most vital problems. The grip of terror did not slacken 
even on the day of the opening of the Duma. The army 
of the revolution created the Duma and carried it to the 
front, leaving the representatives face to face with the 


enemy, while the main forces retreated and disappeared. 
The Duma existed, but without power to make its will 

There was something symbolic about the very build- 
ing assigned for the Duma. This was the old Tauric 
Palace, for generations inhabited by favorites of the 
Tzars and Tzarinas, breathing the spirit of the Russian 
bureaucracy and full of its traditions. For many years 
before 1906 the palace had been deserted. The main 
hall had to be reconstructed. When the author of this 
work, then a press representative, visited the building on 
April 26th, the carpenters were not yet ready, the benches 
were still unpolished, and the building was full of dust. 
Little comfort was provided for the representatives of 
the nation; police vigilance, on the other hand, was more 
than abundant. On the day the Duma was to open its 
session, batteries of artillery passed in front of the Tauric 
Palace. It may have been a mere accident, but it was 

Street demonstrations were attempted in Petersburg 
to greet the opening of the Duma. I was among the 
people, listening, observing. There was gloom in the 
expression of the crowds. The Cossacks were on guard. 
The troops were mobilized. Every gathering in the 
streets was quickly dispersed. ** Don't stop ! Don't 
stop! " was the rigid warning of mounted policemen cut- 
ting with their horses into the crowds on the sidewalks. 
Nobody resisted. People took care that the historic day 
should not be marked by arrests or bloodshed. But there 
was a sadness and a grim smile of despair on their faces. 
The Russian Parliament was opening under Cossack-rule ! 
The representatives were first given a formal reception 
by the Tzar in his palace; then they proceeded to the 
Duma building. On their way, political prisoners waved 
handkerchiefs from jail-windows, and passers-by gath- 
ered in groups shouting: ''Amnesty! Amnesty! " After 
they had entered the Tauric Palace and elected Professor 


Muromtzev speaker, M. Petrunkevltch asked the floor 
for the first speech in the first Duma. He said: 

" The duty of honor, the duty of our conscience, de- 
mands that our first thought, our first free word should 
be devoted to those who have sacrificed their freedom to 
free our dear Fatherland (tremendous applause). All 
the prisons of our country are full (long applause), thou- 
sands of hands are being stretched to us in hope and sup- 
plication, and I think that the duty of our conscience 
compels us to use all the influence our position gives us 
to see that the freedom that Russia has won costs no more 
sacrifices (long-drawn applause). We ask for peace and 
harmony. I think, gentlemen, that, although we cannot 
at present take up this question, as we are going to touch 
upon it in our response to the Emperor's Speech, we can- 
not refrain just now from expressing our deepest feelings, 
the cry of our heart, — that free Russia demands the 
liberation of all prisoners." 

The audience rose to its feet and shouted almost in a 
chorus : '' Amnesty I Amnesty ! " 

The government paid no heed. The government was 
far from sharing a program of " peace and harmony." 
/ The first step of the Duma was to adopt the text of an 
address in response to the Emperor's Speech. The ad- 
dress, adopted almost unanimously, was a clear and able 
expression of all the vital demands of the revolution, 
stated in moderate but firm and dignified language. The 
Duma protested against ** the infamy of executions with- 
out trial, pogroms, bombardments, imprisonment." The 
Duma declared that no peace was possible until the 
authorities stopped " committing violence under the pro- 
tection of the name of his Imperial Majesty " and the 
ministers became responsible to the Duma. The Duma 
demanded the abolition of martial law and other extraor- 
dinary measures, the abolition of the aristocratic Imperial 
Council, the establishment of religious freedom, freedom 
of speech and press, freedom of unions, assemblage and 


Speaker of the First Duma 


strikes and the right of petitions; the abolition of all 
restrictions and privileges as to class, nationality, religion 
or sex; and the abolition of capital punishment. As to 
the agrarian question, the Duma proposed that the peas- 
ants should be provided with additional land by the appro- 
priation for this purpose of the land of the crown, the 
royal family and the churches and monasteries and by 
the " compulsory confiscation of private lands/' The 
address contained a list of other reforms concerning 
local self-government and the rights of the non-Russian 
nationalities within the Empire, and ended with the fol- 
lowing paragraph : 

" There are demands made by the national conscience 
that cannot be refused, that cannot be delayed. Sire I 
The Duma expects from you political amnesty as the first 
token of mutual understanding and harmony between the 
Tzar and the people." 

The address enraged the administration. The reac- \ 
tionary press attacked it venomously as a conspiracy of , 
uplifters. The committee appointed by the Duma to 
hand the address to the Tzar was not received. 

The open clash came on May 12th when Prime Min- 
ister Goremykin made his program speech in the Duma. 
The writer of these lines was fortunate enough to be in 
the Duma on this great day. Great it was because, for 
the first time in Russian history, the people and the 
autocracy met face to face, the people expressing their 
contempt for a system of lawlessness and oppression, the 
autocracy compelled to listen to their indignant voice. 
Briefly, the meaning of Goremykin's long speech was that 
the government was going to grant no, reforms. The 
unanimous opinion of the Duma orators was that nothing 
short of a sincere realization of the October manifesto 
would pacify the country. 

May 1 2th showed that the government was far from 
wishing " peace and harmony." It made clear that it 
would acquiesce in a Duma forming an integral part of 


the bureaucratic machinery, but that it would never recog- 
nize a Duma acting as a powerful and independent 
branch of the government. The first bill introduced in 
;the Duma by the government was an appropriation bill 
/for the construction of a laundry in the hothouses of the 
Imperial University at Dorpat. The bureaucratic ma- 
chinery was not going to change its course in the slightest 
degree. In the opinion of the administration, the Duma 
had to put its stamp on any measure worked out in the 
various ministries, not attempting to do legislative work 
by itself. 

The Duma could not accept this view. The Duma was 
not indeed extreme. The Socialist parties had very little 
influence in the Tauric Palace, though a Social-Democratic 
faction was formed by a score of Socialist members. The 
leading party was the Constitutional Democrats, who pre- 
served a calm and statesmanlike attitude in the most strange 
situations. The Duma desired to keep within lawful limits. 
Yet, it could not confine itself to putting Its stamp on petty 
administrative bills while the country was suffering under 
an unheard of strain. The Duma proceeded to frame 
bills for the most urgent reforms. The new body proved 
to be very efficient. The Constitutional Party included a 
splendid collection of historians, writers, jurists, experts 
in public law and administrative problems. In a short 
time the Duma passed a number of bills of the most vital 
importance: agrarian reform; personal inviolability; re- 
ligious freedom; equality of all citizens before the law; 
abolition of capital punishment; freedom of assemblage, 
of associations and strikes; reform of the courts; aid 
for the peasants suffering from bad crops, etc. All this 
it did in seventy-two days. 

Not one of the bills passed the Imperial Council (of 
which the membership was half appointed by the crown 
and half elected by the wealthiest classes). None re- 
ceived the approval of the administration. 

The situation became more strained day after day. 


The Duma voted several interpellations on the most 
strikingly lawless acts of the administration. They were 
either ignored or answered in an arrogant manner. '* Or- 
ganized public opinion," the great weapon of the Con- 
stitutional Democrats, was as clear and pronounced as 
any one could hope. Yet it had little effect with the 
*' Russian Germans," as Hertzen called them. Arrests, 
and executions did not stop. Political activities were 
under ban. Not even the speeches of the Duma represen- 
tatives could be freely reproduced by the provincial press. 
Several house-searchings occurred in the homes of the 
members of the Duma. The reactionary press soon de- 
manded that the " revolutionary meeting " should be 

On June ist a terrific pogrom took place in Byalostock, 
where more than eighty men, women and children were 
killed, scores of women outraged and entire portions of 
the city devastated. The Duma sent a special commit- 
tee to investigate the causes of the pogrom. The writer 
of these lines went to Byalostock and was present at the 
hearings of the committee, which left no doubt that the 
pogrom had been staged by the administration. The 
committee reported that the soldiers of the garrison had 
been told in advance of the appointed day and that many 
officers had participated in the looting. Prince Urusoff, 
a member of the Duma and a former assistant to the 
Minister of the Interior, rose in the house to make his 
startling revelations about the printing of pogrom-procla- 
mations in the offices of the Police Department. The 
government flatly denied the facts. The Novoye Vremya 
wrote that the Jewish revolutionists themselves were in- 
stalling pogroms on their co-religionists in order to put 
blame on the administration. But the pogrom and the 
following revelations made a stupendous impression all 
over the country. It was evident that the pogrom was 
intended as an answer to the demands of the Duma. 
After this, when members of the Cabinet appeared in 


the Duma, the deputies, including the sedate Constitu- 
tional Democratic professors, greeted them with shouts: 
" Pogrom-makers! Murderers! Get out of here! '* 

The Duma was powerless to stop lawless acts. It 
could only appeal to the country, enlighten the people as 
to the dangers of autocratic rulers, and uphold before 
them an example of government for the people by the 
people. This it did in the most convincing way through 
the speeches of the deputies and a special communication 
to the peasants on the agrarian projects of the Duma 
commission. And this made it short-lived. 
c The days of the Duma were seventy-two. It opened 
on April 27th, it was dissolved on July 9th. The dissolu- 
tion came suddenly, without warning. The Tzar's 
manifesto declaring the closing of the Duma accused the 
^ representatives of " plunging into realms outside their 
jurisdiction," of "investigating the actions of local 
; authorities appointed by the Emperor," of "finding im- 
1 perfections in the fundamental laws which can be altered 
only by the Monarch's will," and of the " overtly lawless 
act of appealing to the people." The manifesto declared 
that because the peasants had lost hope of an amelioration 
of their conditions through the Duma, they had resorted 
to violence and disobedience to the authorities. 

Thus the government condemned the Duma for failing 
to do the very thing it was prevented from doing. 

The day of the dissolution was a Sunday. The rep- 
resentatives were absent from the Tauric Palace. When 
they returned on Monday morning they found the palace 
occupied by detachments of soldiers. Nobody was ad- 
mitted into the building except the speaker and his secre- 

The shock was tremendous. The deputies, however, 
offered no resistance. They were even afraid to convene 
in Petersburg for their last session. They did not think 
of putting themselves under the protection of the people 
and continuing the struggle. This would have meant 





open rebellion against the authorities, which was not in 
keeping with the tone of the Constitutional Democratic 
Party. The deputies, however, went to Vyborg, Finland, 1 
where they were quite safe from the police, and adopted I 
an appeal to the people to pay no taxes and give no re- 
cruits to the autocratic administration. 

Thus the adherents of '* organizing public opinion '' 
repeated the action of the Council of Workmen Delegates 
whose policies they had so severely criticized. If carried 
out, the Vyborg appeal would have meant more than a 
revolution with folded arms. Refusing to pay taxes or ^ 
deliver recruits would necessarily have led to clashes with 
authorities, to disorder and mutinies. The Vyborg ap- 
peal was an appeal to revolution, although the authors 
of the appeal did not think of heading a revolutionary 
movement themselves. They signed their call to the 
nation and adjourned. Thenceforward they were under ' 
police surveillance and later they were tried for sedition 
and put into jail. 


The country received the news of the dissolution of the 
Duma in comparative silence. The Vyborg appeal found 
no response among the people, who hardly knew of its 
existence. After the Duma had been silenced, the admin- 
istrative grip over the press tightened immensely. Only 
a few newspapers reproduced the appeal. The Duma 
itself did nothing to let the people know of its decision. 

The country was gloomy. Meetings were held in 
>^^ many cities and villages, but most of them were dispersed 
by armed force. In many instances the meetings were 
fired upon; in several cities the revolutionists offered 
armed resistance. In the city of Krementchug the Gov- 
ernor-General ordered a meeting on the Dnyepr Islands 
shelled. There was, however, no broad mass-movement, 
as many, including the government, had expected. In 
the rural communities the dissolution of the Duma aroused 
great amazement. The people could not believe that the 
Tzar had dismissed their envoys. The ex-representa- 
tives had to repeat the news over and over again and 
to give elaborate explanations before the peasants were 
able really to grasp the situation. About a hundred 
special messengers, authorized by various rural com- 
munities, came to Petersburg to ascertain whether the 
newspapers' report on the closing of the Duma was 
true. Thus, the act of July 9th was, perhaps, one of 
the most important political lessons for the peasant popu- 
lation, many of whom had still believed in the unity of 
the Tzar with his people. The more enlightened classes 
met the dissolution of the Duma with open indignation. 

The government was on its guard. A circular was sent 


^ v 


to the local authorities ordering the arrest of any ex- 
members of the Duma who might try to conduct political 
propaganda. The vigilance of the police Increased. The 
arrests became more frequent than before. Domiciliary 
visits assumed the character of an epidemic. Young and 
old, women and children, radicals and moderate citizens 
were sent to Siberia. Outrages within the prison walls, 
the torture of convicts, flogging and killing of prisoners 
became an every-day occurrence. The measures of the 
administration were now more formidable than the revo- 
lutionary movement. In the latter, many agents provo- 
cateurs, representatives of the secret police within the 
revolutionary organizations, played a considerable role. 
Many terroristic acts, many attempts on the lives of high 
officials were planned and carried out by the agents provo- 
cateurs. The administrators needed revolutionary acts 
which gave them an opportunity to show efficiency and 
devotion. Where such acts failed to occur, they had to 
be staged by secret agents. 

During the summer the army began to show new signs t 
of unrest. Mutinies occurred in more than 120 army- 
units. Even the soldiers of the Tzar's bodyguard held 
meetings and demanded an improvement of their condi- 
tions. On July 17th the navy crews of the fortress Svea-' 
borg in Finland started an open revolt; they took posses- 
sion of the fortress and fought a regular battle against 
the loyal battleships stationed in the harbor. On July 
20th the fortress of Kronstadt revolted, many officers, 
including one admiral, being wounded. Part of the crew 
on the battle-cruiser " Pamyat Azova " revolted on the 
same day. On July 21st the soldiers of the Samurski 
regiment In the Caucasus assassinated many of their 
officers, including the commander of the regiment, and 
began to distribute rifles among the population, calling 
them to uphold *' the Tzar and the Duma.'' It can hardly 
be asserted, however, that those mutinies were due to the 
dissolution of the Duma. The mutinies were unpleasant 


to the government, but it now felt its strength : for though 
everybody hated it, nobody offered serious resistance. 

. Stolypin, the new Prime Minister, was the man of the 
hour, and he ruled with an iron hand. His was the bold 
statement that '' national expediency was above law." 

vin the summer of 1906 field court-martial was established 
in all the provinces of Russia. The procedure of those 
courts was simpler than the procedure of the regular 
court-martial. No appeal was granted. No defense was 
possible. In the first three months of their existence the 
new courts executed 465 revolutionists, 56 of them with- 
out trial at all. The reign of terror was becoming fiercer 
every day. The country was silent at last. Gray twilight 
again spread over Russia, the gloom illuminated only 
by rifle-fire and the torches of the hangmen before dawn, 
the silence interrupted only by the wild yelling of the 

, Black Hundred and the *' black " reactionary press. 
/ The second Duma was to convene on February 20, 
1907. Between the closing of the first Duma and the 
opening of the second, the government had a free hand 
to legislate without check. Minister Stolypin undertook 
the greatest piece of economic legisl^Tteonrifi the recent 
history of Russia. He abandoned the communal owner- 
^1^ ship of land in rural RussTa. The law of November 6, 
1906, gave a rigbt to every individual member of the 
village community to have his share of land cut off from 
the land of the community and to dispose of it as his 
private property. Thus one of the fundamental institu- 
tions of Russia, considered the most genuine feature of 
Russian economic life, was abandoned by a mere adminis- 
trative order. Necessary as the reform was for the eco- 
nomic development of the country, the motives underlying 
its introduction were purely political. The village com- 
munity had proven dangerous to the bureaucratic order. 
The representatives of the peasantry in the Duma, the 
few conservatives not excluded, had been too much imbued 
with the idea that the land was *' God's and the people's.'' 



The reform was intended to destroy the very foundation 
of such ideas. Besides, it was looked upon as a means 
of hastening economic differentiation in the village. The 
stronger peasants readily made use of the reform to free 
themselves from the bonds of communal ownership of 
land; the weaker peasants obtained a legal permission 
to sell their shares of land. Thus the stronger became 
more strong, the weaker more weak. At one extreme of 
village life there developed a class of well-to-do farmers 
possessing comparatively large estates; on the other ex- 
treme a class of propertyless proletarians. The latter 
were, perhaps, more dangerous politically than the mem- 
bers of the village community had been. But, on the 
other hand, the well-to-do farmers were a great gain for 
the administration. Stolypin expressly said that he was 
going to support the strong peasants against the weak. 
The strong peasants, he thought, would be hostile to any 
disturbances of peace and order. 

The new law was hastily put into operation. Boards 
of land-settlement were immediately established. The 
work of cutting the community land into individual por- 
tions soon began. It was planned that after the second 
Duma convened, it should find an accomplished fact which 
could not be undone. The plan did not fail. The Duma " 
was afterwards compelled to give its consent to a law 
which had already brought deep changes in the economic 
structure of the village. 

During the recess between the first and second Duma 
the semi-oiEcial reactionary press urged the government 
to change the electoral laws in favor of the wealthy 
classes. The provincial councils of the nobility and a 
number of Zemstovs, now reactionary and full of fight- 
ing spirit, sent petitions on behalf of electoral changes. 
The first Duma, they declared, was one-sided, not express- 
ing the wishes of the people. Only a representation of 
wealth and culture could secure useful legislation. 

This time the government did not change the electoral 


law formally. The Senate, however, having in Russia 
the functions of a supreme court, set to work on the 
interpretation of the law. In a short time it " interpreted 

^away" large groups of citizens supposed to be radical. 
The local authorities gave their own interpretations to 
the interpretations of the Senate. The elections took 
place under open pressure of the administration. Popular 
candidates were arrested, election committees prosecuted, 
party leaflets confiscated, election meetings forbidden. 
Party agitators were attacked by members of the Black 
Hundred, if not arrested by the police. The clergy did 

"^ its bit to secure the election of *^ good '' candidates. The 
entire machinery of the administration was keyed up to 
the requirements of the elections. 

The returns were more surprising than in 1906. 
There were elected 117 Constitutional Democrats, 97 
members of the peasants' Labor Group, 83 Social-Demo- 
crats and Socialist-Revolutionists (the Socialists now par- 
ticipating in the elections), 39 Polish deputies, 34 Octo- 
brists, and 63 reactionaries. Out of the 455 representa- 
tives the government could hardly muster one hundred 
(including the Octobrists). The presence of a large 
y number of Socialists made the second Duma even more 
odious in the eyes of the administration than the first 
had been. 
^ The second Duma lived one hundred days. 

It was a gloomy assemblage. The beautiful hopes that 

had illuminated the hearts of so many before the opening 

J of the first Duma had faded away. Concessions on the 

part of the government were less probable than ever. 

The voters had very little confidence in the new legislative 

^body. It was powerless, and everybody knew it. It was 
practically alone, with no mass movements to back it. 
The country was silent. The only work that was left to 

^ the Duma was to criticize the government and agitate for 
a constitutional order. 

The speeches in the second Duma were more bitter and 

A. K—eb. 

Interpellation in the Imperial Duma 
As seen by a cartoonist 


full of hatred than in the first. This was in a measure 
due to the provocation of the bureaucracy. Prime Minis- 
ter Stolypin talked to the Duma in a haughty tone. He 
declared that ** the Duma was not granted the right to 
express disapproval, reproach, or mistrust of the govern- 
ment." He forbade the Duma commissions to invite ^ 
experts to their sessions or to communicate with the 
Zemstovs or municipal councils. Petty attacks on the 
persons of the deputies added to the bitterness. On the 
other hand, the presence of a few score of reactionaries, 
among them members of the Black Hundred, who used 
the language of the slums, heated the atmosphere still 
more. The second Duma devoted less time to framing , 
bills and more to interpellations, which were not always ' 
answered. And all the time it felt like a gay party on 
top of a volcano. Bad omens were not lacking. One day 
the ceiling of the main Duma-hall fell down, covering the 
left section of the benches. Fortunately, the accident hap- 
pened when the hall was vacant. Had it happened a few 
hours sooner or later, the entire opposition would have 
been buried under the debris. The old bureaucratic palace 
seemed to resent the presence of representatives of the 

The bureaucracy was already planning to dissolve the 
Duma. A plot was arranged. Agents provocateurs, 
among them the notorious Azev, provided the govern- 
ment with evidence that the Social-Democratic faction of 
the Duma was organizing a rebellion of the troops. The 
government demanded that all Social-Democrats should 
be excluded from the Duma sessions and that sixteen 
should be extradited to the authorities for the purpose of 
imprisonment. Before the Duma had time to pass on this 
request, it was dissolved by an order of the Tzar, on ^ 

June 3, 1907. 

On the same day a new electoral law, decreasing the i 
representation of the workingmen, the peasants and the 
poorer classes of the urban population and increasing the 


representation of the landlords and the wealthy industrial 
classes, was made public. The new law had not been dis- 
cussed or voted in the Duma or in the Imperial Council. 
It was published as an order of the administration in 
blunt violation of the constitution. It was a coup d'etat, 
'1)ut it secured a third Duma obedient to the bureaucracy. 

The Social-Democratic faction of the second Duma 
were arrested, tried for high treason and sentenced to 
years of hard labor and subsequent exile to Siberia. 

The country received the coup d'etat in silence. Only 
church bells rang in many cities by order of " patriotic " 
administrators, and the councils of the nobility responded 
with patriotic addresses. The address of the Moscow 
nobility may be quoted as typical: 

** Great Monarch,'' the Moscow nobility wrote, '' in 
the days of grave ordeals, through which the Russian 
Fatherland has passed more than once, the ancient class 
of nobles, together with all the men of Russian spirit, 
have for centuries manifested by word and action their 
faith in the creative force of the full and undivided auto- 
cratic power of the Tzars. This faith remains unshaken 
among the nobles of Moscow. ^ Now, as in former years, 
there is no political power in Russia equal to the power 
pf the Tzar. The Tzar is the only representative of His 
people, the imperial voice of its conscience. ^ He alone is 
the supreme ruler of its destinies, responsible only before 
God. The ancient power of the Tzar is higher in the 
fninds of the people than passing external laws. The 
word of the Tzar instills life in the dead letter of the law. 
In this belief the nobles of Moscow joyfully greet your 
imperial decision manifested in the act of June 3d." 

It was the old doctrine : *' One God in heaven, one 
Tzar on earth," and all power is vested in the Tzar. 

The nobles, the large landlords were satisfied. Capital, 
industry and commerce were appeased and partly won for 
the government by the promise of peace and order and 


by the prospect of influence in the Duma. Labor was 
curbed. The peasantry was cut to pieces by the law of 
November 6th; the more prosperous were encouraged, 
the poorer were terrorized and silenced. The intellec- 
tuals, disappointed in revolutionary ideas, turned partly 
to theosophy, partly to the pursuit of personal success, 
partly to dark and morbid moods. The revolution was 
beaten. The revolutionary organizations were destroyed. 
Over the debris of the great movements a shadow re- 
mained, — the Imperial Duma, a mere plaything in the 
hands of the administration. Legally a constitutional 
monarchy, Russia was in reality an autocratic state. 
Such was the situation from 1907 to 19 17. 


In the following two parts of this work we shall turn 
our attention from the general to the particular, from 
the history of movements to the history of men. We do 
not mean biographies of revolutionary or autocratic lead- 
ers : there were no leaders in the 1905-06 upheaval. The 
great drama knew no remarkable figures of nation-wide 
import. In the camp of autocracy the only conspicuous 
personaHty was, perhaps, Stolypin; this able political 
fighter, however, stepped to the front at the end of the 
drama, when the revolution lay defeated and it remained 
only for the victorious government to annihilate its rem- 
nants. In the camp of the revolutionary masses there 
were no leaders. The masses were led to the battle-line 
not by strong individuals impressing the people by force 
of mind or vigor of passion, but by impersonal secret 
committees. The peasants, in the majority of cases, acted 
under no leadership whatever. The clashes, one may 
fairly say, were mostly impersonal. Both the revolution- 
ary forces and the machinery of the government acted 
with blind elemental power. The masses hated the old 
regime, but their hatred was directed against a system, 
not against an individual ruler; the administrators showed 
much persistence in suppressing the revolution, but their 
measures were aimed at a collective opponent. Thus the 
historian of the revolution is seldom given an opportunity 
to sketch the life of a great revolutionary leader. If, 
therefore, we endeavor to tell the '* history of men," we 
mean by this the human material, the human experiences 
of the revolution. Dissolved into its component parts, 
the revolution appears to be a series of actions of indi- 
vidual men and women animated by a certain desire or 
idea. These individual men and women, their characters, 
their education, their ideas and beliefs, their relations to 
the revolution, are what the student of the revolution has 



to look into if he wishes to reach a clear understanding 
of the gigantic struggle. 

In this work of reviewing the human material of a 
historic epoch, as in all sociological studies, generaliza- 
tions are indispensable. We cannot throw light on the 
mental process of all the peasants or all the intellectuals 
participating in the revolution. If we could, it would be 
unnecessary. What is required is a comprehensive pic- 
ture of social types, of generalized characters, bearing 
collective features. These types, abstract as they may be, 
are a step forward from the term ** social group '^ to 
living, suffering and acting human beings. 

Russian literature is an inexhaustible source of material 
for the characterization of such types. Deprived of 
freedom to develop in all directions, the Russian genius 
concentrated itself on literature, making it infinitely more 
than *^ reading matter," elevating it to the height of a 
national sanctuary. With untiring vigilance the Russian 
writer followed every change in the public sentiment, 
every turn of the public trend of mind. With infinite care 
and ardor born out of love, he described the " people,'' 
the poor masses, their habits, their surroundings, their 
struggles, their joys and sorrows. And all the time, 
through all the historic developments of the nineteenth 
and twentieth centuries, it was the ideal of social justice, 
of liberty for the oppressed, of plenty for the deprived, 
that illuminated the path of Russian ** belle lettres." 

*' The Russian intellectual and the reflection of the best 
jqualities of his spirit — Russian literature — can never see 
^eal happiness outside of social life and social heroism," 
says one of the great historians of Russian literature, 
S. Vengerov. " As a matter of fact, the Russian intellec- 
tual never looks for individual satisfaction; he strongly 
repudiates it when it is not connected with the happiness 
of others. Not I, not I, not I is the ever-recurring refrain 
of modern Russian literature throughout its history." * 

* S. A. Vengerov, Works, Vol, I, pp. 204-05. 


This social character of Russian literature, combined 
with the keen realism of an overwhelming majority of the 
Russian writers, makes it a treasury of social types, char- 
acters, descriptions of social movements in their human 
aspects. Many works of Russian literature are nothing 
else than studies in peasant life, in workingmen^s ideas, 
in intellectual aspirations, in social and political struggles. 
A movement of momentous importance, as was the revo- 
lution, impressed itself on the mind of every Russian 
writer, and every one responded by describing one or 
another phase or character of those stormy years. 

Out of this tremendous flood of literary work we shall 
pick out some of the most adequate descriptions of per- 
sons or events and try to reproduce them in brief outlines, 
not refraining from using also other documents where 
typical cases are represented. 



The Russian administration was more than a group 
by itself. It was almost a different race. Long years of 
selection gave the Russian administrator a peculiar stamp, 
a unique frame of mind, an odd conception of the world. 
Not every one could become a member of this strange 
organization. In the higher ranks, an ability to overlook 
the most glaring signs of the times, an ability to live in 
a realm of illusions and yet to appear very farsighted, 
shrewd and resourceful was required; in the lower ranks, 
unreasoning obedience, readiness to throw oneself upon a 
victim and to tear his flesh notwithstanding personal 
feelings, aptitude to carry out the wildest orders, some- 
times contradicting each other, were considered the most 
indispensable qualities. Had a Russian administrator 
to be honest? No doubt, honesty was essential in the 
career of a " Tchinovnick," but it was a class honesty, 
confined to one group. An honest administrator was the 
man to whom the interests of the bureaucracy were 
supreme; dishonest was the official who " did not justify 
expectations.'' As regards relations with the general 
public, common honesty was not a part of the moral code 
of the administration. Here the infinitely more important 
quahties of rigidity, of uniformity in procedure, of '* dig- 
ging out the roots of evil " were features making an offi- 
cial welcome in the family of his brothers. On the other 
hand, a critical mind, a thorough knowledge of facts, a 
desire to serve the interests of the public were incom- 
patible with the position of an administrator. 

There is no doubt that many a member of the executive 
machinery honestly believed he was serving a righteous 



cause. Years of training in special segregated schools, 
years of intercourse with one kind of people, continuous 
breathing of the same atmosphere in the bureaucratic 
offices, resulted in a sort of moral Daltonism, Group 
virtues obfuscated all others. The approval of superiors 
took the place of moral satisfaction. '* Representing the 
government " induced a man to believe he was right in 
all his actions. '' I am your Tzar and your God " was 
used by local authorities not merely in the heat of anger. 
A man delegated by the highest Powers on earth and 
heaven could hardly feel himself restrained by foolish 
laws, moral or legal. After all, the people he had to deal 
with were a '* poor and dirty mob," while he was strong, 
prosperous, resplendent, backed by so many others, also 
strong, prosperous, resplendent, members of his caste. 
He was right. He could not be otherwise. 

And it is remarkable that none of the Russian writers, 
great or small, took the administrator seriously. This 
cannot be explained by the mere fact that Russian litera- 
ture was progressive. The type in itself was so exceed- 
ingly humorous that writers of all political and social 
creeds were obliged to see it in the same way. In fact, 
when the situation of the officials later, In the time of the 
revolution, became pathetic, Russian literature, progres- 
sive and radical as it was, registered the human part of 
the tragedy. In the pre-revolutionary time, however, the 
attitude of the literature was only satirical. There is not 
even hatred In the hearts of the writers. How can one 
hate an unpleasant chemical compound or nasty weather ? 

We shall quote two writers, one a radical and a satirist, 
M. Saltykov-Shchedrin, and the other a conservative and 
a friend of the dynasty. Prince Vladimir Meshcherski ; 
and we shall see that the types depicted by both are identi- 
cal in nearly every detail. 

Theodor Krotikov, writes Shchedrin,* was merrily 
passing his time In the fashionable restaurants of Peters- 

^ Pompadours, Chapter IX. 


burg. He was a good fellow. He was spending money 
with a free hand. In the meantime he was listening to 
the utterances of administrators flocking to the capital 
,from all the provinces and discussing affairs around the 
wine-table. Theodor Krotikov made himself acquainted 
with the " spirit of the time.'' Then he managed to gain 
admittance into important circles, made some striking 
remarks about the disadvantages of excessive centraliza- 
tion and the necessity of decentralizing Russia through 
increasing the power of the local administration, and 
deplored the fact that the higher government was too 
much occupied with trifles, while the main task — the inner 
political situation — remained unheeded. Theodor Kroti- 
kov did not know himself what he was talking about. 
But he found favor and was appointed governor of a 

His administrative career begins. 

He knows nothing. He has no experience and does 
not care for any. He has no idea as to the problems of 
administration, nor does he feel the need of any. The 
routine work is being done by the various offices in the 
established manner, and as to general policies, their out- 
lining requires only courage and vivacity of mind, two 
qualities the young administrator possesses in a prodigious 

At the beginning he is " liberal." He writes a memo- 
randum in which he defends freedom of smoking in the 
streets, freedom of choice by each individual as regards 
the cut of his clothes, freedom of wearing whiskers and 
long hair. The memorandum is received in the high 
** spheres " with favor. In his province Krotikov follows 
a policy of unflinching liberalism. He issues orders to 
establish factories, to populate and fertilize deserts, to 
develop transportation, crafts, trades, navigation. He 
expresses his firm belief that agriculture, aided on one 
side by horticulture and on the other by improved cattle- 
breeding, will bring the best results. He does not care 


whether all these orders can be carried out. He is de- 
lighted by the fact that he is an administrator, that he has 
power. He addresses merchants, urging them to establish 
leather and soap factories; he speaks to the nobility on 
the necessity of setting a good example. He is very active. 
He visits the fire station, the prison-house, the shops; he 
combats the pest, the cholera, the smallpox and the an- 
thrax, and, of course, he is extremely rigorous in collect- 
ing the arrears in taxes, this being the chief evidence of 
administrative eiEciency. 

Soon he discovers, however, that his orders are in vain. 
Factories are not established, navigation does not develop, 
the cholera refuses to disappear, the merchants are per- 
sistent in their backwardness and ignorance, and agricul- 
ture, seconded by anthrax, yields more pig-weed than 
corn. The only field where Krotikov has succeeded is in 
the collecting of arrears and the quelling of revolts. In 
all other respects he has utterly failed. 

Our administrator becomes morose. Not understand- 
ing the causes of his failure, he puts the blame on liberal- 
ism in general. He is disappointed. He is melancholy. 
He complains. There is nobody to work with, he asserts. 
Still, he makes a final attempt. He writes a circular letter 
to his subordinates emphasizing the necessity of industry, 
commerce and transportation. He demands a strenuous 
effort. ** For the last time I ask you,'* he writes, *' to stir 
the public spirit, to arouse in it a tendency toward great 
and daring actions (not resorting, for the time being, to 
bodily exhortations). Of the results of your talks, per- 
suasions and admonitions you must inform me semi- 
weekly." But this circular fails to create prosperity in 
the province. 

Krotikov gives up *' liberalism." Times have changed, 
and the administrator changes with them. He now scents 
an ** intrigue." He seeks for " hints and clues." He 
looks with suspicion on the buildings of the Zemstvo 
office and the court, institutions that are supposed to be 


the source of liberal spirit. Still he is doubtful. He has 
no policy to follow. He aches for activity. 

Then his task suddenly reveals itself. He must eradi- 
cate the " evil spirit " ! He must combat the pernicious 
trend of mind! He must fight the enemies of law and 
order ! . He has found himself. 

Theodor Krotikov is full of joy. He will make himself 
conspicuous among other administrators. His work will 
be appreciated " higher up.'' He discharges his former 
associates and coworkers. He selects a new set of sub- 
ordinates capable of doing the work of extermination. 
As a matter of fact, there is no revolutionary movement 
in his province. But this does not hinder him in his war 
against the *' spirit." There are the Zemstvo institutions. 
There are the courts. There are the schools. All these are 
nests of sedition. Knowledge is a double-edged weapon, 
he says. If knowledge does not lead people to obedience 
and reverence for established authorities, better extermi- 
nate knowledge. 

Krotikov is triumphant. In his administrative zeal he 
doubles his activities. His subordinates make raids on 
private residences, search rooms, seize loads of books and 
papers, imprison scores of innocent persons. Krotikov's 
distress (every *' decent" administrator is supposed to 
have an officially recognized mistress, sharing his honors 
and playing a role in society) helps him in his work. 
Together they wage war against materialism, together 
(with the aid of police-captains) they induce the popu- 
lation to go to church. 

Theodor Krotikov is now a recognized statesman. 

The figure of this administrator is exaggerated, no 
doubt. Yet behind its exaggeration in form it contains 
a true substance. It is a fact that the Russian adminis- 
trators belonged either to the ** liberal " or to the con- 
servative variety, the liberal having the welfare of the 
country on his lips, while the conservative had nothing on 
his lips but venom. It is a fact that the difference between 


(the liberal and the conservative administrator was a nomi- 
nal one, both disregarding the actual needs of the popu- 
lation, both exercising arbitrary power over people de- 
prived of all political rights, and both believing them- 
selves to be the source of the highest wisdom. It is ^ fact 
that in the last years before the revolution no adminis- 
trator could make a career for himself who did not 
become notorious through combating the evil spirit. 

Prince Vladimir Meshcherski, as we have mentioned 
above, was a staunch defender of absolutism in its ex- 
tremest form. None was more venomous in attacking 
radicals and revolutionists than the old prince in his maga- 
zine Grashdanin, Still, Prince Meshcherski was a 
keen observer, and in his novels we find the same type of 
the ignorant, stubborn, conceited, yet successful, admin- 

Count Ivan Obezyaninov * thought that governmental 
affairs were his vocation ** because he was very good 
looking, had received his education in one of the aristo- 
cratic military schools, was thirty-four years of age, had 
never been up for trial by court excepting on two occa- 
sions, when he was fined for breaking windowpanes in 
certain houses while under the influence of liquor." In 
political matters Count Obezyaninov loved to talk about 
things he did not understand. Every one who discussed 
the Zemstvo he called a *^ liberal,'' without knowing why. 
When he was appointed governor of Kamarino he did not 
know the location of the province on the map and had 
no knowledge of law. Still he decided to rule with a firm 
hand. " My ideal is Bismarck," he said. ** That's the 
man we need! An iron hand, a mind of genius! " His 
administrative program was " to establish a good fire 
department, to exterminate mendicancy, to take care of 
the prison, to have gas-lighting installed all over the city, 
if possible, and in general to drive the Zemstvo and all 

* V. P. Meshcherski, One of Our Bismarcks and Count Obezyaninov in 
a Ne^ Position* 


similar elements into a corner/' As to the details of 
administrative work, he decided to leave them to his 
assistants, while he himself would be the '' conductor," 
the " general guide '' of the public spirit. 

'' My chief problem," he said to his assistant, *' is to 
improve and strengthen the power of the administration, 
which has become very lax." 

*^ But how will you improve the power of the adminis- 
tration without going into details?" the assistant re- 

" Very simple. I will establish a perfect system of 
police; I will have honest, reputable people, through 
whom I can find out everything. That's all." 

** Am I to understand that in your opinion the police 
and the administration are the same thing? " 

** Exactly the same." 

*' But how about the Zemstvo? Suppose you come into 
conflict with the Zemstvo, how can you use your police ? " 

** As to the Zemstvo, my friend, it is easy to avoid con- 
flicts. rU keep a tight hand over them, that's all." 

Furnished with such a program, he arrived in Kamarino 
and was given a splendid reception. The chief of police 
was doing his best to please the new governor. When 
he went out for a walk, ** the street in front of the house 
was strewn with sand, the policemen almost reminded him 
of their Petersburg colleagues in stature and dress, and, 
to crown the pleasant picture, all the houses in the vicinity 
of the count's residence and many houses on Main Street 
were decorated with flags." 

The count at once formed a good opinion of the chief 
of police. Had he given himself the trouble to look into 
the police station he would have discovered that six citi- 
zens had been arrested on the previous night by the chief 
of police for attempting to hand the count a petition 
against the same official. Similarly, he would have dis- 
covered that three other prisoners had been arrested for 
disobeying the order to extend the new governor a hearty 


welcome. But the governor did not care for details, and 
the reputation of Perepentyev, the chief of police, was 

When the local administrative bodies presented them- 
selves to the governor he made an eloquent speech, ex- 
pressing his purpose to be firm and relentless in his 
struggle against the secret enemies of the administration. 

*' Gentlemen,*' he said, '' I am the first to regard free- 
dom, but I cannot permit disloyal or ill-intentioned free- 
dom to exist. It is my duty, gentlemen, to explain each 
time which kind of freedom I can approve of. I shall 
ask you, therefore, to take my advice on each occasion 
and not to listen to those who entertain impossible 
thoughts about freedom.'' (Here he cast a glance at the 
representatives of the Zemstvo. ) The governor further 
emphasized the fact that he was the sole ruler of the 
province, ** the chief master, the guardian of order, good 
behavior and good morals. I hope, gentlemen," he said 
to the Zemstvo members, ** you will understand that I 
am the master of the province and that nobody will be 
permitted to give orders in my Kamarino.'' 

Thus began the administrative career of Count 

** Many things happened in his time," the author says, 
*' he himself, however, accomplished nothing because 
there was nothing in him. Questions about the character 
of administrative work and how to start it, essential 
questions full of deep, vital meaning could never be born 
in the mind of Count Obezyaninov, because that mind 
was empty." Kamarino appeared to him a maze of fields, 
houses and humble, bowing people. He disliked the 
Zemstvo because its chairman was not submissive enough 
in personal relations; he sympathized with the nobility 
and officialdom because they gave a dinner in his honor. 
Because of this, the author says, he considered that the 
nobility and oflicialdom were momentous parts of the 


At the beginning he happened to have one honest, 
efficient assistant who cautioued him against lawless acts, 
frankly expressing his own views and opinions. This man 
was extremely disagreeable to the administrator and to 
the other Tchinovincks. An intrigue was devised against 
him, he was charged with liberal tendencies and had to 
go. The chief of police, Perepentyev, and another offi- 
cial, Maklakov, who had hatched the plot against their 
honest colleague, became the favorites of their superior. 
The chief of police knew how to please. He had noticed 
that the count liked to have his dog petted, from which 
he concluded that he would like still more to be petted 
himself. The chief of police surrounded the governor 
with an atmosphere of flattery, servility and adulation. 
The governor trusted him blindly. The province was 
virtually in the grip of Perepentyev and Maklakov, who 
were well versed in the art of fishing in troubled waters. 

Count Obezyaninov was not accustomed to work; more- 
over, he mistrusted work. One of the reasons for his 
pugnacious attitude toward the Zemstvo institutions was 
the fact that they were absorbed in strenuous work. The 
active members of the Zemstvo did not limit themselves 
to office hours, but gathered privately in the chairman's 
residence to discuss problems and work out projects in 
the sweat of their brow. Their gatherings, full of useful 
work, lasted sometimes till two or three in the morning, 
and although nothing that they planned or debated was 
unlawful, they were denounced to the governor as secret 
political meetings dangerous to the government and to 
peace and order. This the count believed. How else 
could he explain people's working late into the night? 

He took his own office very lightly. Having only a 
very vague idea of his duties or jurisdiction, he kept 
*' aloof," which meant that he did nothing. He increased 
the personnel of his office, reinforced the police, estab- 
lished a number of new commissions, issued a series of 
ferocious orders to the local authorities of the province, 


one of them threatening the chiefs of the county police 
with discharge should they fail to collect the arrears 
within two weeks (arrears that had accumulated through 
decades). Another order instructed the police " to keep 
a vigilant eye over the spirit and general attitude of the 
population and to report on all changes taking place in 
the aforesaid.'] After this, the count felt himself per- 
fectly justified in reporting to his superiors in Petersburg 
that he ** had introduced reforms tending to increase 
the authority of the governor as a representative of the 
supreme power." Having put through all this statesman- 
like program, Count Obezyaninov had leisure to devote 
himself freely and unequivocally to the tender passions. 
The province was supposed to be flourishing. 

A glimpse of the actual situation we have in the descrip- 
tion of how the county chief of police, Ivan Artemyevich, 
collected the arrears in a certain village. Like a thunder- 
bolt from a clear sky he fell upon the unsuspecting vil- 
lagers. Panic, anguish and despair surged in their simple 
hearts when they heard the fateful bell of the chief's 
carriage. The chief called a village meeting, and the 
authorities threatened with arrest and severe punishment 
those who failed to pay their share. Then they set to 
work executing the order. From house to house the 
authorities went, seizing chickens and geese and calves and 
horses, to be sold at an auction to follow, in payment of 
the taxes. Women wept, children cried. The chief him- 
self was sympathetic. He was a kind-hearted man and 
he knew the peasants were unable to pay; moreover, he 
knew it meant ruin when they were deprived of the cattle 
necessary for the cultivation of the fields. Yet he did 
not shirk. His own position was at stake. 

The same scenes were repeated in all the other villages 
all over the province. In a few days the county chiefs of 
police were in a position to report considerable progress. 
One of them was particularly proud to relate that his 
efforts had been crowned with success, in spite of the fact 


that the population was famine-stricken after the bad 
crops of the preceding year. 

The machinery of the administration was in full swing. 

Count Obezyaninov was an honest man, of course. 
But he could not help it when his private interests coin- 
cided with the interests of the state. There was a railway 
line to be constructed in the province. The Zemstvo 
wished to construct the line and save public money; but 
the Zemstvo was liberal and full of evil spirit. Mitri- 
datov, the business man who offered himself to the gov- 
ernor as a contractor, asked a very high price, but he was 
an honorable, loyal and devoted citizen. It so happened 
that the same Mitridatov offered to rent the count's 
private estate on very favorable terms and to have the 
railway line pass near the estate, which would increase 
the value of the latter; whereas in the Zemstvo plan the 
line would be run far from the count's estate. It does not 
reflect upon the patriotic feelings of our administrator 
that the contract was concluded with Mitridatov, who, 
as the count's tenant, secured a right to call the villagers 
through the local police when they were needed for cer- 
tain kinds of work. 

Representatives of the Zemstvo attempted to argue. 
They pointed out that Mitridatov was a crook, that he 
had no money and that the line constructed according to 
his plans would be of no economic value. The governor 
replied to the delegation: ** I am utterly indifferent as 
to whose interests you are defending, your own or your 
Zemstvo's. I am the master of Kamarino, and I, not 
you, have the right to manage affairs. Here, in Ka- 
marino, I am restricted by no laws or anybody's order. 
Your solicitation will be given consideration only when I 
find it worthy of the government's attention." The 
Zemstvo appeals to Petersburg, but, of course. Count 
Obezyaninov wins against the *^ liberal opposition." 

Count Obezyaninov undertakes a trip through the 
province. The local authorities exert every effort that 


no complaints reach the master of the province. Those 
who are suspected of being " unreliable *' have to wait 
in jail till the count's visit to their locality is over. The 
police urge the peasants to meet the governor with bread 
and salt and offer him valuable gifts. The count is de- 
lighted. He reports to Petersburg that the rural popula- 
tion of his province is prosperous, suffering only from an 
excess of freedom in local self-government. He praises 
the police as the most reliable institution and recommends 
highly the ** worthy business man/' Mitridatov. 

A time comes when the numerous complaints before 
the Petersburg authorities make it impossible for him to 
remain in Kamarino. He goes to Petersburg, where he 
finds that he is compromised badly. This, however, does 
not hamper his career. He has connections. He visits 
high officials. He impresses them by his extreme opinions 
with regard to inner political matters. He visits a pow- 
erful and charming countess who controls a powerful old 
prince — and he becomes an administrative star. *^ Count 
Obezyaninov,'' the author meditates, ** did not find favor 
with the population of Kamarino, and there was a reason 
for it. Count Obezyaninov did not find favor with his 
minister, and there was a reason for that, too. Yet 
Count Obezyaninov did find favor with Prince Semyon 
Ivanovitch; Count Obezyaninov did find favor with 
Countess Rovinskaya and the old prince, and the trick 
was turned speedily and smoothly. It was Fate's desire. 
Can you argue against Fate? " 

Count Obezyaninov becomes head of a department in 
Petersburg, master over the destinies of millions of 


Are the writers we have quoted true to life ? Are not 
administrators of the Krotikov-Obezyaninov type prod- 
ucts of an erratic imagination? 

To answer this question we cite the following story, 
which is not fiction, but a narrative of real facts. It con- 
tains one of many dramas which could not even be com- 
mented upon by the newspapers and were unloiown to 
the general public. This particular drama escaped com- 
plete oblivion owing to the circumstance that it came up 
for discussion in the higher governmental institutions 
which keep records of their proceedings. 

The dramatis personae are : 

Ivan Pushchin, a landlord. 

KologrivoVy a Zemski Natchalnik (one of the local 
gentry in charge of the peasants' affairs. The Zemski 
Natchalnik combines judicial and administrative power 
over the peasants. His decisions are carried out by 
the local police). 

Zvenigorodskiy chief of the county police. 

SemoVj chief of the district police (subordinate to 
the chief of the county police, who is subordinate to the 
governor of the province). 

Nekludov, governor of the province of Oryol. 

Peasants, old and young. Peasant girls. 

Soldiers of the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division. 

Place : The Village Obolesheva, Oryol County, Prov- 
ince of Oryol. 

Time: 1892. 



The material is furnished by official documents, namely, 
the record of the Senate proceedings and the decision of 
the Ministers' Committee. The author has arranged the 
material in chronological order so as to make the survey 
more comprehensive. 

Here is the story: 

The peasants of the village of Obolesheva owned com- 
munity-land on both banks of the river Tzona. Farther 
down the river was the estate of Mrs. Pushchin, and her 
water-mill. The mill was fed from a water-reservoir 
formed by a dam. The dam across the river connected 
the peasants' community-land on either bank. Every year 
the dam was damaged by spring waters, and for many 
years the peasants had repaired it for a certain remuner- 
ation. In 1892, however, when Mrs. Pushchin became 
owner of the estate and the mill, her husband, Ivan 
Pushchin, acting in her name, declared that the repairing 
of the dam was a duty of the peasants; they had to do it 
for nothing, he asserted, because his wife, as a landowner, 
was legally a partner in the community-land of the peas- 
ants. The peasants refused to work without pay. Push- 
chin brought this fact to the attention of the Zemski 
Natchulnik Kologrivov. Kologrivov came to Obolesheva 
and ordered the peasants to fill in the gap in the dam 
without waiting for the decision of the courts. This was 
on July 15th. On July i6th the peasants petitioned 
Kologrivov to be allowed to delay the execution of his 
order for two days, a member of the county court being 
expected In Obolesheva. To this Kologrivov agreed. In 
the meantime a wagon of straw was brought to the dam, 
to serve as material for the filling of the gap. The 
peasant girls of Obolesheva surrounded the wagon and 
turned it over; then they ran away. Kologrivov, the 
Zemski, then ordered that the women of Obolesheva be 
imprisoned for three days, one woman from each family. 
The names of the women were not specified in his order. 


The order had to be carried out by the local policeman; 
but as the peasants refused to deUver their women volun- 
tarily, the policeman was powerless. The Zemski Natch- 
alnik then ordered the syndic of the Bogdanov district to 
arrest the women without resorting to violence or irri- 
tating the population. In this the syndic did not succeed. 

The landlord, Mr. Pushchin, informed the governor of 
the province that there were disturbances and lawless acts 
on the part of the peasants in Obolesheva. Simulta- 
neously, he informed the county chief of police that the 
governor's attention had been called to the disorders In 
Obolesheva, and that he, the county chief, should be ready 
to respond to the inquiry of the governor. The county 
chief, Zvenigorodski, ordered the district chief of police, 
Semov, to investigate the case. Semov reported that 
there were no disturbances whatsoever, the peasants 
simply refusing to comply with the order of the Zemski 
Natchalnik, pending the decision of the courts. The 
county chief took no further action. On August 4th, 
however, he was summoned to the governor and severely 
rebuked for not reporting to him on the events in Obole- 
sheva. Simultaneously with Zvenigorodski, the Zemski 
Natchalnik, Kologrivov, was summoned to the governor. 
Kologrivov made a statement of the case. Asked as to 
how he was going to enforce his decisions, Kologrivov 
said that the women would be arrested without interfer- 
ence from the outside, while it would be wise to postpone 
the construction of the dam till the arrival of the member 
of the county court. 

The governor did not agree with the Zemski Natch- 
alnik. He was for quick action. He therefore told the 
county chief to go to Obolesheva and enforce both the 
imprisonment of the women and the construction of the 
dam. On August 5th the county chief, Zvenigorodski, 
went to Obolesheva, arrested eight of the most influential 
peasants and, accompanied by two district chiefs and 
three policemen, ordered the remaining peasants imme- 


diately to fill In the gap and deliver the women.- No speci- 
fication as to the women to be arrested was made, the 
Zemski Natchalnik's order being that where there were 
more than one woman in a family, preference should be 
given to the one who had no children and no care of the 
household. The peasants refused either to deliver the 
women or to repair the dam. As was afterwards stated 
by the district chief of police, Semov, the peasants were 
civil to the authorities. There were no riots and no in- 
sults. The peasants simply answered that the decisions of 
the authorities would not be carried out before the ar- 
rival of a member of the court. ** The peasants of 
Obolesheva,'' the district chief stated, " were by no means 
rude. They are peaceful, reverent and humble people, 
and rudeness is alien to their nature." 

The county chief and his associates were in a difficult 
situation. They were few, while the peasants were many. 
Nevertheless, they started to enforce their orders. The 
women having fled from their houses, they tried to arrest 
every woman they encountered in the streets. The men, 
however, interfered, protecting the women. Protests 
were heard, such as : " We'll go to Siberia,*' " We won't 
give up the women," '' Pushchin's hirelings," etc. Many 
women, in sheer fright, fled to the river and, holding 
their babies on their arms, waded into the water till it 
was above their waists. Seeing that the imprisonment of 
the women under such circumstances was impossible, the 
authorities tried to enforce the filling in of the gap. The 
peasants resisted peacefully, their resistance expressing 
itself in not allowing a wagon loaded with straw and 
brush-wood to proceed to the dam. The county chief 
was disconcerted. ** A formal resistance," he said to the 
district chief, ** consists in interference with the actions 
of any of the authorities, while here no such interference 
takes place." Thereupon he ordered one of the police- 
men to drive the wagon. The peasants took the reins 
from the hands of the policeman and drove the wagon 


back. Then the county chief himself tried to drive the 
wagon. The peasants repeated their resistance. The 
county chief was satisfied. " See/' he said, " now we have 
sufficient resistance.'' The district chief, Semov, tried 
to induce the peasants to obey, but the latter only mur- 
mured: '* Your honor, don't you see what they are going 
to do? They are strangling us." 

The county chief reported to the governor the failure 
of his expedition. A report was sent to the district 
attorney, but it was intercepted by order of the governor. 
Immediately after receiving the report of the county 
chief. Governor Nekludov asked the commander of the 
Thirty-sixth Infantry Division to send a company to 
Obolesheva. On August 6th the company started for 
Obolesheva, accompanied by a police officer who received 
from the governor the following instructions : i, to secure 
from the Zemski Natchalnik a list of the '' women to be 
arrested"; 2, to prepare horses and a carriage for the 
governor on the station Naryshkino, where the county 
chief of police was to await his arrival on the following 
day; 3, to call to Obolesheva the syndics of the neighbor- 
ing villages and as many village-reeves as could be gath- 
ered; 4, to prepare as many rods as possible. 

All these instructions were punctually carried out by 
the police officer, who prepared three wagon-loads of 
rods. On the morning of August 7th the governor arrived 
at the railroad station Naryshkino, accompanied by the 
county physician. On the same train twenty-five Obole- 
sheva peasants were brought back from Oryol to Narysh- 
kino. Those peasants were representatives of the Obole- 
sheva community who had gone to the province capital 
to present a petition to the governor. They had been 
arrested by order of the governor, brought back to 
Naryshkino and, under escort, sent to their native village. 
While they were being walked home the governor went 
for luncheon to the home of the landlord Pushchin, where 
the county chief handed him a list of the women to be 


arrested, and also a list of the peasants who had offered 
resistance. With the aid of Pushchin and the county 
chief, the governor marked against each name the number 
of rods to be given to the peasant Chief among them 
were the eight peasants arrested on August 5th, who 
obviously could not have participated in the resistance 
which took place while they were locked in. After lunch- 
eon the governor proceeded to Obolesheva, a distance of 
three versts from M. Pushchin's estate. 

In Obolesheva the governor found all the inhabitants 
of the village gathered on the village -place, surrounded 
by soldiers. At sight of the governor, all the peasants 
fell on their knees, begging for mercy. Without request- 
ing the community to obey the orders of the authorities, 
the governor started the execution. One peasant after 
another was called, according to the list worked out in 
Mr. Pushchin's house, and punished with rods in the 
presence of the governor and all the community. The 
number of strokes assigned to each peasant varied from 
50 to 150. The first peasant had to receive 150 strokes. 
After the fortieth stroke he fainted, and the governor 
asked the county physician Krassin to examine the man 
** to see how far he was pretending.'' The physician 
stated that the continuation of the execution might be 
dangerous, but the governor exclaimed: '* What non- 
sense ! '' and the execution continued. After the eightieth 
stroke the scene was repeated. After all the 150 strokes 
had been inflicted, the man was unconscious for a whole 
hour, notwithstanding medical aid. In the same manner 
all the other peasants on the list were punished. The 
execution was so severe that the police officer fainted and 
had to be led away from the place. On the same spot the 
county chief of police, Zvenigorodski, was ordered by the 
governor to hand in his resignation for not having pre- 
pared a bench for the execution and cold water to pour 
on those fainting under the rods. Among the punished 
were five peasants who had been under arrest on August 


5th, when the disobedience of the peasants occurred. 
Besides the punishment by rods, four peasants were ar- 
rested by the governor. After the execution the governor 
ordered the arrest of the women for three days to be 
carried out. Then he ordered the peasants to fill in the 
gap in the dam across the river. Both orders were ful- 
filled in the presence of the governor. Leaving Obole- 
sheva, the governor made a speech to the peasants assem- 
bled on the dam, saying that he had been a friend of 
Pushchin and his wife's brothers for many years, that he 
knew they were very good people, and that any disobedi- 
ence on the part of the peasants would lead to a punish- 
ment doubly severe. On the following day the county 
chief of police, Zvenigorodski, handed in his resignation, 
and on August 9th he was discharged. One of the peas- 
ants who on the day of the execution had fled from the 
village, was subsequently seized, brought to the province 
capital, Oryol, and given seventy-five rod-strokes. 

In March, 1893, four of those who had been punished 
brought the case before the Governing Senate, charging 
the governor with illegal conduct. Their complaint was 
based on the fact that in disobeying the illegal order of 
the authorities to do work they were not obliged to do 
they had committed no crime whatsoever. This opinion 
was held by the Kharkov circuit court, which had had a 
hearing on the case and decided that *' the action of the 
Obolesheva peasants, expressed in passive resistance to 
the illegal demands of the police, contained no elements 
of crime.** The Senate asked the governor for an expla- 
nation. The governor in his report to the Senate admitted 
that he had ordered many of the Obolesheva peasants to 
be punished with rods for disturbances, but this measure, 
he asserted, was fully justified by the unrest prevailing 
among the peasants of his province in 1892, when the 
famine and the subsequent epidemics of cholera had cre- 
ated a spirit of rebellion. Under such conditions, the 
governor wrote, any disturbance of peace and order 


ignored by the governor or not quelled from the begin- 
ning might have grown to enormous dimensions. 

This explanation found no favor with the Senate. The 
Senate saw no element of rebeUion in the refusal of the 
Obolesheva peasants to obey an illegal demand of the 
Zemski Natchalnik. As to the governor, the Senate reso- 
lution states that '* he was influenced by motives having 
nothing to do with the interests of state service. It is 
stated with positive certainty/' the resolution says, '' first, 
that the governor did not and could not receive intelli- 
gence of the occurrences in the village of Obolesheva from 
the proper authorities, since neither the local county chief 
of police, nor the Zemski Natchalnik saw in the actions 
of the peasants elements of resistance or disobedience 
demanding extraordinary measures; second, that the in- 
telligence of the aforesaid occurrences was received by 
the governor from private sources — from the nobleman 
Pushchin, who was interested in the case and whose testi- 
mony should have been taken with the utmost caution. 
It is further evident from the case that Councilor of State 
Nekludov, being an old friend of the Pushchin family, 
made all his orders in accordance with the advice and 
recommendations of Pushchin, taking the latter's counsel 
even as to the selection of the peasants to be submitted 
to corporal punishment and the number of strokes to be 
assigned to each, and directing his actions to the obvious 
injury of the Obolesheva peasants and the benefit of Push- 
chin in fulfilment of claims by the latter, which were after- 
wards recognized by the courts as without foundation." 

On the basis of these facts, the Senate found that a 
criminal prosecution against Governor Nekludov would 
be required by law, and that, pending the investigation, 
the governor would have to be removed from his office. 
However, considering that Governor Nekludov still re- 
mains in his position, that the investigation of the gov- 
ernor's actions would have to be conducted by a magis- 
trate of the local court in the province where Governor 


Nekludov is the highest authority, and that officers sub- 
ordinate to the governor and private persons would have 
to be interrogated, an admittedly unsatisfactory and un- 
desirable procedure, the Senate recommended the Com- 
mittee of Ministers to present the case to His Imperial 
Majesty, asking that M. Nekludov might be exempted 
from criminal prosecution and given a severe reprimand 

The Committee of Ministers held a hearing on the 
case. The committee admitted that the governor had 
violated the law, but found strong reasons in his favor. 
Part of the committee^s resolution reads: *' The commit- 
tee could not overlook the statement of the Minister of 
Finance (S. J. Witte) that in 1892, when councilor of 
state, Nekludov, was appointed governor of the Oryol 
province, he, Privy Councilor Witte, visited the provinces 
most afflicted by the cholera epidemics, including the prov- 
ince of Oryol ; that he remembers well the state of mind, 
both of the population and of the local authorities in those 
provinces, and that, without justifying the conduct of 
Governor Nekludov, he can easily understand it. At 
that time the population of the central provinces and along 
the Volga was under the influence of the spreading chol- 
era. Nearly every day telegrams were received telling 
of disturbances among the peasants. Under the prevail- 
ing nervous tension, men lacking calmness and sufficient 
judgment could be induced to see in every accident, how- 
ever small, a beginning of serious disturbances. M. 
Nekludov, coming from the Volga provinces, might have 
been under the immediate influence of this general agita- 
tion, though in his province there were no sufficient 

causes. '* 

Taking all this Into account, the Committee of Minis- 
ters agreed with the Senate that Governor Nekludov, 
exempted from criminal prosecution, should be strongly 

Governor Nekludov retained his position. 


The revolution came. The bureaucracy was threat- 
ened. The foe was no longer hidden, but stepped to the 
front, firearms in hand. The fight against him was no 
longer an ** unrooting of the evil spirit," but a defense 
against numberless cunningly plotting and daring idealists 
unafraid of death. The administration could not remain 
good-natured any more. Its countenance became grim, 
its attitude merciless. It felt as if it lived in a hostile 
land. Every one not belonging to the bureaucratic or- 
ganization was considered dangerous; in the herd of the 
administration itself black sheep were encountered here 
and there. 

The situation of the high officials was bad, the situation 
of the lower executive officers worse. Every one lived 
under a terrific strain. Getting up in the morning, one was 
not certain to remain safe through the day; going to sleep 
in the evening, one was afraid of the shadows of the 
night. At the same time the higher authorities were in- 
sisting on vigorous measures. Deeds of bravery were 
requested from the police. Nerves were tense. The 
mood was practically hysterical. This accounts for the 
unusual cruelty manifested by so many good-natured 
Slavs. Life had become insane, speeding down a slippery 
precipice with dazzling rapidity. A bloody mist filled 
every soul. Could one expect justice or deliberation under 
such circumstances? 

It is Maxim Gorky's merit to have given a character- 
ization of an ordinary official of those times in his four- 
act play, The Last. Ivan Kolomiytzev, the main fig- 
ure, is by no means an exception among chiefs of police. 



He lacks education, of course. But had he enjoyed a good 
.education he would not have been compelled to serve in 
the police. He drinks, he is dissipated, he accepts bribes; 
but all this goes with the job. A cruel job, the work of a 
chief of police. The political prisoners riot. Is this to be 
tolerated? The chief of police is responsible for peace 
and order. He quells the riot. Many are wounded, 
Two die. The press is indignant. Is he really guilty? 

*' Why did you order the prisoners to be beaten? " his 
wife asks. 

'* It is not true,'' he says in a low voice. " They were 
beaten before the arrest. They offered resistance." 

" They were beaten on the way to prison, too." 

** They offered resistance," he replies nervously. 
** They sang songs. They disobeyed. You know how 
irritable I am; I cannot stand contradiction. Don't forget 
that they were insolent, swaggering fellows, enemies of 
the Tzar and order. They are being hanged, put to hard 
labor. Why wasn't I allowed to make them be silent?" 

" Two were killed . . . two ..." 

** What does it amount to? They were feeble people, 
famished by unemployment; one rap on the forehead 
would have killed them. . . . The soldiers were mad," 
the man says. Then, after a while, he adds in a very sin- 
cere tone : *' Yes, perhaps it is partly my fault — but every- 
thing is so topsy-turvy nowadays, you lose control, you 
live in constant agitation. . . . It's everybody's fault; 
yes, all are guilty. Others do more cruel things than I." 

Ivan Kolomiytzev is convinced he is no worse than 
others, and so it is. Those fellows are being hanged, put 
to hard labor. They are practically outlaws. Can you 
handle them with silk gloves? Ivan Kolomiytzev is a 
cynic, greedy for lust, money and pleasure; but notice: 
when he speaks about his duties his language becomes 
solemn. *' I am in the service of the Throne and public 
safety," he declares. ** I am absorbed in important 
state affairs," he says at another time. " I am a guardian 


of life's foundations.'' There is an element of the come- 
dian in Kolomiytzev, perhaps a characteristic feature of 
every subordinate official in a bureaucratic system where 
the man is judged not by his work but by his ability to 
please his superiors. In his talk about *' life's founda- 
tions " there is a good deal of pose. Still, he is convinced 
he defends a right cause. His is not the power of think- 
ing. He lives on group psychology, group morals. 

There comes a day of revenge. A revolutionist makes 
an attempt on his life. Ivan Kolomiytzev behaves in a 
cowardly manner, shamefully. The attempt creates a 
sensation. The press makes a series of revelations as to 
the activities of the official. Public opinion becomes in- 
flamed. Kolomiytzev is compelled to resign his position. 
Still, he never thinks he has been wrong. He puts the 
blame on the revolutionists. One of them had been 
arrested by the police after the attempt. Kolomiytzev is 
not sure he remembers his face, nevertheless he recognizes 
him as the man that made the attempt. The prisoner is 
awaiting death. The revolutionary organizations issue a 
statement confirming the innocence of the prisoner. Pub- 
lic sentiment is growing in his favor. Everybody is con- 
vinced Kolomiytzev has given false testimony. 

And here the family drama sets in. Kolomiytzev's 
wife has never loved her husband. She has tolerated him 
for the children's sake, knowing his weaknesses and faults. 
Now she sees he is going to inflict death on an innocent 
youth who may have been a revolutionist by conviction, 
but who has had nothing to do with the attempt. Peter, 
the younger son, a high-school lad of eighteen years, be- 
comes aware of his father's role in public life. His school- 
mates call him the son of a murderer, a beast. The boy 
goes through a severe mental struggle, which results in 
hatred for his father. His sister Vera, a girl of sixteen, 
also begins to surmise the truth. The prisoner's mother, 
a respectable, beautiful old lady, visits Kolomiytzev's 
wife, begging her to save the life of her son. Mrs. 


Kolomiytzev, shocked, terrified, despairing, has a talk 
with her husband. The conversation begins with remarks 
about the characters of their children. Mrs. Kolomiytzev 

" Listen, you yourself were fighting against children 
for ten years." 

Kolomiytzev (smiling). What does it mean? 

Mrs. Kolomiytzev (forcefully). You were searching, 
seizing, arresting — whom? 

Kolomiytzev (amazed). Whence this liberalism? You 
are funny, old woman. Don't talk nonsense. 

Mrs, Kolomiytzev. You killed boys. One of the boys 
was seventeen years of age. And the girl you shot when 
searching her room ! You are all covered with blood, the 
blood of children is on you, the blood of youth, yes! 
Didn't you say, time and again: they are mere boys? 
Didn't you ? 

Kolomiytzev (frightened, perplexed). What's the mat- 
ter with you, Sophia ? It's terrible. 

Mrs. Kolomiytzev. Yes, it is terrible. 

Kolomiytzev. You've collected all the slander and lies. 
Are there only youngsters among the enemies of order? 
Besides, what you say is dangerous. Should Peter or 
Vera hear you talk 

Mrs. Kolomiytzev. You've committed a despicable act, 
out of cowardice or anger. 

Kolomiytzev (depressed). I am a nobleman, Sophia, I 
cannot allow 

Mrs. Kolomiytzev. You testified against a young man, 
asserting he'd made an attempt on your life. Do you 
know, are you sure it is the same man? Did you see him 

Kolomiytzev. I see! You've been instigated by his 

Mrs. Kolomiytzev. Can you give your word of honor, 
right here, before the holy ikons, face to face with me, 
that he is the person who fired? 


Kolomiytzev {^ingvily). I've had enough now! I un- 
derstand ! ril show her ! 

Mrs, Kolomiytzev (approaching her husband). Ivan, 
you must tell the gendarmes you were mistaken, the young 
prisoner is not the man who fired on you. You'll say it ! 

Kolomiytzev (frightened by her tone). And if not? 

Mrs, Kolomiytzev. Yes, you'll say it. For Christ's 
sake, I beg of you 

Kolomiytzev, This is appalling I Suppose I am con- 
vinced he is guilty? 

Mrs, Kolomiytzev, No, no, this is not true! At any 
rate, I do not appeal to your heart; it is useless to call 
out in the wilderness. I want to say just this : if you don't 
admit your mistake, I will tell Peter and Vera. . . . 
Please, Ivan, do it for the children's sake ! 

Kolomiytzev (doubtfully). You are violating my will! 
It's madness! 

Mrs, Kolomiytzev (becoming weaker). Do as I say 
and you'll feel you are a better man. Please do it. 

Kolomiytzev (giving in). Let's end this! Of course, 
to me it is — ^but let him go to hell, the damned rascal. 
True, I am not convinced he is the one that fired, but 
somebody has fired, anyway! I may even admit he is 
not the man; but is it worth while making a scene for such 
trifles? This is sheer madness, Sophia ! 

Mrs, Kolomiytzev (fatigued by the exertion; quietly). 
All my life is one continuous madness, and yours, too. 

Note the remark: ''Somebody has fired, anyway!" 
The sense of tribal justice demands that if a member of 
the tribe is attacked by a member of another tribe, the 
whole enemy tribe has to suffer. Kolomiytzev is not 
aware of the monstrousness of his remark. Neither did 
the officials think that they were committing an injustice 
when they imposed indemnities on an entire community 
or took hostages to secure the surrender of the revolu- 
tionists. '' Inter arma silent leges." The entire country 


was in a state of war. Is there any difference whether 
you kill one or the other of your enemies? *' Somebody 
has fired, anyway! ** 

Kolomiytzev is, from his standpoint, a good citizen and 
a good father. He loves his children, especially the older 
son, Alexander, and the older daughter, Nadeshda, who 
is married to the prison physician. It is for the family's 
sake that he has gone into police service, and he is proud 
of it. He is ready to make sacrifices. He is deeply moved 
when he hears that his son Peter disapproves of his con- 
duct. But those children are his own, they belong to his 
tribe, while all the others, real or suspected revolutionists, 
are enemies of his tribe ! 

Kolomiytzev promised his wife to admit his error in 
ascertaining the man who fired. In the meantime, how- 
ever, he is notified that with the aid of his son-in-law he 
can secure an appointment as chief of county police. This 
is a rank lower than the position he has held before the 
attempt, but he thinks it will serve as a stepping-stone 
toward further advancement. His son-in-law admonishes 
him: *' You have a name, your record is good. All those 
misunderstandings are becoming a matter of the past. 
The only thing youVe got to do now is to be firm. The 
times of anarchy are passing; the government feels strong 
enough to restore order. It demands from its agents a 
strong hand.'' Kolomiytzev is embarrassed. Can he 
admit his error, in view of the near appointment? " Is it 
convenient that I should now become mixed up with this 
story?" he asks. *' Just think of it: a county chief of 
police declaring publicly: I've committed an error! 
Would it not make a bad impression? " Both his son, 
Alexander, and his son-in-law agree that he has to stick 
to his former testimony. He must be firm. He must not 
show sentimentality. He must remember that admitting 
his error would be a blow to the gendarmerie which have 
conducted the case against the prisoner (the gendarmerie 
colonel is such a charming man and such a good partner in 


whist!). Besides, as his son-in-law says, " Somebody has 
fired, anyway, and all those sharpshooters are close 
friends.'* It's a pity that the revolutionist did not wound 
the chief of police, he says, which would have helped him 
to advance ; but, anyway, Kolomiytzev cannot now admit 
his error. 

The fate of the prisoner is sealed. Kolomiytzev dis- 
misses the case from his mind. The call of a new posi- 
tion, new work, new power, is too strong in him. What a 
joy to have an entire city trembling before you — a city 
full of merchants, business men, women, hosts of people 
left entirely to your mercy ! Kolomiytzev is rejuvenated. 
All his other inconveniences are smoothed down, too. He 
has happened to burst the ear-drum of his office-messenger 
by hitting too hard. The man had complained. Now the 
district attorney has done away with the case. The newly 
appointed county chief of police is determined to be strong, 
unflinching, merciless. '' We are victims of these terrible 
times, their spirit poisons everything, destroys all foun- 
dations,'' he declares. He is going to fight against this 
spirit. But, alas! all the time, through all his actions, 
fear will follow on his heels, breathing terror into his 
heart, making all his days one dismal agony and moving 
him to more hysterical and senseless cruelties. 

This feeling of incessant fear following a governmental 
official who has caused the blood of the people to be shed 
is strongly pictured in Leonid Andreyev's story, The 
Governor. The hero of the story, the governor, is, in 
the main, a beautiful personality. He has a tender heart, 
a vivid imagination, a broad view of life. He has a strong 
feeling of justice. He is brave, courageous. Petty jeal- 
ousies or ambitions are foreign to him. All these quali- 
ties, however, do not prevent him from living in a world 
of illusions, where only a few human beings are real, while 
the rest are manikins, dolls. Five years before the story 
begins he had punished villagers with rods and had found 
it merely funny. They had forcibly taken away some 


grain from the landlords, those filthy Mujiks. The gov- 
ernor appeared on the scene of the disturbance with 
soldiers and police. The soldiers carried the sacks of 
grain from the peasants' houses, and it was funny to 
watch how those poor devils clung to the sacks, letting 
themselves be dragged over the ground, together with the 
precious food. It was funny to watch the helpless, clumsy 
movements, the wooden countenances of those who were 
being flogged. At that time the governor had felt no com- 
punction. It was the established order of things. The 
central government had thanked him for his firm behavior 
in quelling the rebellion; his son, an army officer, was 
rapidly advanced in recognition of his father's deserts. 
The governor was prosperous, and no dark thought 
troubled his clear mind. 

Then came the mad years, and the governor shed the 
people's blood. ** The fact in itself," the author says, 
*' was very simple, though sad. The workers of a sub- 
urban factory, who had been on strike for three weeks, 
came to the governor in a crowd of several thousand men, 
women and children, demanding things the governor had 
no power to grant and behaving in a defiant, impudent 
manner. They shouted, insulted the authorities, and one 
of the women, who looked very much like a lunatic, pulled 
^im violently by his sleeve, so that the shoulder seam 
burst. Later, when the officials of his suite took him to 
the balcony, while he was still trying to make himself 
understood and to quiet the crowd, the workingmen began 
to throw stones, breaking several windows in the gov- 
ernor's house and wounding the chief of police. Then 
the governor lost his temper and waved the handkerchief. 

** The crowd was excited, therefore the volley had to be 
repeated, and the number of killed was large — forty-seven 
persons, nine of whom were women and three children, 
all girls. The number of wounded was still larger." 

It was this act that awakened the governor from his 
tribe-illusion and made him feel and understand in terms 


of common human morality. He now sees his act in the 
strong light of conscience and keen regret, coupled with 
(the despairing feeling that there is no redress and no 
deliverence. He is surrounded by the shadows of the 
dead, he is haunted by the images his mind reproduces 
before him over and over again, though he is no coward. 

The soul drama of the governor as depicted by An- 
dreyev, though it is one of the deepest and most stirring 
psychological studies, cannot be dwelt upon in this con- 
nection. What interests us here is the fact that after the 
day of the slaughter the governor was doomed to death 
and that there was no rescue from this verdict. 

An implacable fate, an iron law, a blind, unreasoning 
force acting with the persistence of the forces of nature — 
this is how Leonid Andreyev sees the hand of the revolu- 
tion following the man who shed the people^s blood. 

" On the very morning following the massacre of the 
workingmen," the author says, " the entire city knew the 
governor was going to be killed. Nobody spoke of it as 
yet, but everybody knew it, as if in the silence of the 
night, while the living restlessly slept and the dead were 
quietly lying in the fire-station barn, some dark being 
had hovered over the city, shadowing it with its black 

** And when the people began to speak of the assassina- 
ition of the governor — some early, the more reticent later 
— they spoke of it as of a thing irrevocably decided upon. 
The majority spoke of it indifferently, as one speaks of a 
solar eclipse which will be seen only on the other side of 
the globe and which can be interesting only to the inhab- 
itants of that hemisphere. The minority were excited, 
and discussed the question whether the governor deserved 
a cruel punishment like that and whether there was any 
sense in assassinating single persons, however injurious, 
while the whole tenor of life remained unchanged. There 
was a difference of opinion, but even the extremists 
showed no particular excitement, as if they were dealing 


not with an event bound to come, but with an accomplished 
fact which no private opinions could alter. 

'' The discussions showed that the governor had more 
friends than enemies, and even among those who adhered 
to the theory of political assassinations there were many 
who found excuses for him. Had it been possible to take 
a vote in the city, an overwhelming majority, moved by 
various practical and political reasons, would have been 
against the assassination, or the execution, as many called 
it.'^ And yet, everybody knew the governor was doomed 
to death. *' Both the friends and the enemies of the gov- 
ernor, those who excused him and those who accused him 
were under the ban of the same unshakable certainty of 
his impending death. They had different thoughts and 
different words, but the feeling was the same, a tre- 
mendous, imperative, all-penetrating and all-powerful 
feehng, utterly indifferent to words, as only death can be. 
It was as if the ancient gray-haired law, paying death for 
death — a law long obsolete, nearly dead in the eyes of 
those who did not see — now opened its cold eyes, saw the 
killed men, women and children and stretched its impla- 
cable hand over the man who had done the kiUing." 

The governor receives anonymous letters. In some of 
them he is pitied as a victim of circumstances, in many 
he is scorned or insulted ; but all the writers are convinced 
that he is near death. His death is an object of conver- 
sation in the workshops, in the saloons, in family circles. 
Secret-service men guard the movements of the governor, 
Cossacks ride in front of his carriage when he goes to his 
country home, but all this is done in a rather perfunctory 
manner. The man is going to die, anyway, both he and 
his staff feel. Some strong, powerful being, never missing 
its aim, will wreak vengeance in the very near future. 
There has already been a rumor that he has been assas- 
sinated. For his immediate associates he is practically 
dead. He may still continue to give orders, he may be 
pleased or angry, he may act as any other living, human 


being; for his friends, his family and his subordinates he 
is dead. A suspicious character has already been seized 
in the vicinity of the governor's house, and though no 
direct charges could be made against him, his behavior 
shows that he has been plotting something. 

In the suburbs inhabited by the workingmen there was 
an uncanny silence. People had resumed their work after 
the massacre ; on the surface everything was smooth, but 
the mood of the masses was dark, and the wound was 
bleeding, poisoning the public body with hatred, grief and 
despair. One of the women whose child had been killed 
became insane, and her wild screams and haunted look 
filled the suburb with pitiful horror. 

Two weeks before the governor's death the mail 
brought him a package which turned out to contain an 
infernal machine. The device, filled with gunpowder, 
was supposed to explode on the opening of the package. 
But it was badly constructed by untrained hands and 
caused no harm. It was evident the man who had con- 
structed the machine had no idea as to how such devices 
were made, and this only added to the cruelty and horror 
of the fact. ** It was,'' the author says, ** as if blind death 
had stretched out its feelers, groping about in the dark." 
The chief of police became irritated, the governor's wife 
insisted that her husband ask for an immediate leave of 
absence. The governor agreed, but, strangely enough, 
from now on he changed completely; he threw off all 
conventionalities, his face gained the expression of per- 
fect truthfulness, which it had lacked when he was still 
among the living. The governor was patiently awaiting 
death, he was almost challenging it, walking among the 
distant streets of the town and exposing himself to danger. 

The assassination took place in a very simple manner. 
Two men encountered the governor on a corner of a deso- 
late street facing a little, muddy square. They were both 
poorly dressed, ill-fed and seemingly in bad circumstances. 
Their faces were greenish-pale and haggard. One of 


them handed the governor a letter, as if it were a petition. 
At the same time he made strenuous efforts to pull out of 
his pocket the revolver, which had become entangled with 
the torn lining. The governor was killed by three loud 
revolver shots following one another. 

Ancient Moira uncovered her face to the man who had 
shed the blood of the people. 




I WAS once traveling on board a steamer over the 
Caspian Sea, says Gleb Uspenski,* when I became aware 
of a miserable, depressing feeling creeping into my soul. 
Nearly every minute our steamer met little boats laden 
with fish. " It's herring,'* somebody remarked. " They're 
going to be herring all the way through. Look, how thick. 
The same all the way through." These words, '* all the 
way through," gave Uspenski a clue to his depressing 
mood. ** Yes," he said to himself, ** this is the reason 
why I am so melancholy. Now, everything is going to 
be the same * all the way through.' The sheat-fish are 
moving in endless numbers, in tremendous hordes which 
cannot be dispersed; the herrings are advancing in the 
same manner, millions of them at a time, each individual 
the image of every other; and so it is with the mass of 
the people. It's the same ' all the way through,' from 
here to Archangel, from Archangel to ' Odesta,' f 
from ' Odesta ' to Kamtchatka, from Kamtchatka to 
Vladikavkaz and further, to the Persian, to the Turkish 
frontier. . . . To Kamtchatka, to Odesta, to Peters- 
burg, to Leonkoran, * all the way through,' everything 
is the same, as if coined by the same machine : the same 
fields, the same corn-ears, the same earth, the same sky, 
the same Mujiks, the same peasant women, all of the same 
kind, all of the same brand, the same colors, thoughts, 
clothes, the same songs. . . . It's ' all the way through,' 

*Gleb Uspenski (-f- 1902) was one of the keenest and most talented 
observers of Russian peasant life. His stories, of a half-publicistic char- 
acter, contain inestimable material regarding the life, characters and 
ideas of rural Russia towards the end of the nineteenth century. 

t This is the way the common people pronounce " Odessa." 



an * all the way through ' nature, an ' all the way through ' 
population, * all the way through ' morals, an ' all the way 
through ' truth, an ' all the way through ' poetry, in a 
word — a homogeneous hundred million people which lives 
the same life * all the way through,' which possesses a 
kind of collective thought and which can be understood 
only in its collective capacity. To separate one unit from 
this mass of millions, say, our village reeve, Semyon 
Nikititch, and to try to understand him is impossible. 
. . . Semyon Nikititch can be understood only in a mass 
of similar Semyon Nikititches. The price of one herring 
is a trifle, while that of a million is a large sum; a million 
Semyon Nikititches constitute an organism, a being full 
of interest, while taken alone, with his individual thoughts, 
he is incomprehensible and inscrutable. . . . Millions 
of people live ^ just like the others,' and every one of those 
* others ' feels and knows that by himself he is worth only 
a trifle and that he amounts to something only when con- 
sidered in the mass.'' 

These words of Uspenski throw light on the entire vil- 
lage life of Russia at the end of the nineteenth century. 
It was a life whose economic basis was rapidly changing 
from a primitive natural state into that of modern indus- 
trial individualism, while the habits of thought and the 
level of culture, owing to the lack of civic rights and 
political freedom, still remained as primitive as under the 
yoke of serfdom. It was a life where the average peasant 
had not yet become self-conscious as a personality differ- 
ing from all the others of his kin. It is due to this fact 
that whenever the Russian writer of the pre-revolutionary 
period describes a peasant's life and strife, he takes him 
as a representative of a class, much in the same manner 
as travelers describing the life of savage tribes take the 
individual as a typical representative of the tribe. The 
life is the same, '' all the way through." 

Here is a typical village and a typical peasant as de- 
scribed by Uspenski : 


The village consists of low, dark structures, little sheds 
and low-roofed barns, mostly shaky and dilapidated. 
The streets are muddy. Trees are scattered here and 
there, but somehow they do not relieve the gloomy aspect 
of the village. Everything has been done without taste, 
without skill and seemingly without love. 

Life in the village is poor; more notable than the pov- 
erty, however, is the lack of comfort. The streets are 
unpaved not because the village cannot afford paving, but 
because nobody thinks of such innovations. Many houses 
lack chimneys ("black houses" they are called in the 
village) ; when the stove is being heated the smoke fills 
the house, and doors and windows must be kept open; 
ceiling and walls are covered with soot — and yet it does 
not require a fortune to construct a chimney. Very sel- 
dom the houses have adjoining flower gardens, and in gen- 
eral the villagers do not care to make their abodes more 
attractive, though it could be done with very little labor 
and expense. The peasants endure the most intolerable 
inconveniences which could be easily removed by intelli- 
gent care and enterprise; but intelligence and the spirit of 
enterprise are just what the peasants lack. 

And here is one of the aborigines, a man clinging to 
his native earth, a typical Mujik, Ivan Ermolayevitch. 
His interests are entirely confined to his village and to his 
piece of land. He cannot read nor write, nor has he any 
use for such scholarly acquirements. None of the peas- 
ants subscribes to a paper, not one in a thousand is inter- 
ested in general political or social problems, or even in 
the affairs of his province or county. " For three months 
I have lived in a village at a time when our troops were 
crossing the Danube, fighting, dying, drowning, defeating 
and suffering defeats,'' Uspenski writes. ** For three 
months reading, urban Russia was all a-thrill with the 
disquieting news of the war, and for all those three months 
I have not heard a word as to what was going on in the 
wide world. Nobody receives any papers, nobody goes to 


Xht city or to the railroad station, every one being occu- 
pied with the orchards, the mowing, and other household 
work. The echo of historic events reaches the village in 
the form of orders, like ' To call the recruits of such and, 
such a year,' or ' To conficate the horses selected on 
such and such a date.' Aside from those official requests, 
nothing indicates the importance of the moment, there is 
/nothing to show the place of the new recruits or horses 
in the sum-total of current events. The man who in a 
,week or two is going to defend the Shipka or Kars or to 
liberate the Bulgarians, knows nothing about the Bul- 
garians or the Shipka, and the only thing that concerns 
him is the shoe-making inplements he has to sell for next 
to nothing." 

So it was in 1878, so. In the main, it was fifteen or 
twenty years later. It is natural that people so isolated 
from the entire world as the villagers have nothing in 
common with members of other classes. The caste spirit 
is stronger in the peasant than in any other group of the 
Russian population. Our Ivan Ermolayevitch may greet 
in a friendly way the ** gentleman " who happens to 
reside in the village, he may even exchange with him a 
few perfunctory words as to health, weather or crops, 
but there can be no actual common interest and no cordial 
relationship between these two. They cannot understand 
each other. In the eyes of Ivan Ermolayevitch every 
** gentleman," i.e., a man wearing city clothes and making 
a living not from manual work, is a *' queer fellow," a 
f * strange bird." " It is the firm conviction of the peas- 
ant," Uspenski says, " that the gentleman understands 
nothing at all, a conviction implanted in the very blood of 
the peasant. The gentleman may buy because he has 
money; he may sell because he has goods; he may require 
services and pay for them, or do anything else that money 
makes possible. In the course of those transactions, as 
long as a monetary connection between the peasant and 
.the gentleman exists, they can be apparently close to each 


other, they can conduct an ' Intelligible,' though not 
plways sincere conversation. Should the gentleman, how- 
ever, try to continue his acquaintance simply as a human 
being, as man with man, in the same manner that peasants 
are acquainted with each other all their lives, his attempt 
would fail. Of what use can a gentleman be when he 
neither buys, sells nor requires service? What does he 
understand? " 

Gleb Uspenski and many a Russian writer of the 
Narodniki were inclined to lay the blame for this mis- 
trust on the ** gentleman,'' his lack of persistence and 
his " gentlemanly '' manners. The truth is that no 
modern man, however great his love for the common 
people, however great his adaptability or his readiness to 
suffer privation, could speak a common language with the 
Russian Mujiks as long as they remained in their primi- 
tive stage of culture. Not even the best among the intel- 
lectuals, men and women of the deepest love and sincerity, 
could be understood by the peasants. 

Our Ivan Ermolayevitch knows only his immediate en- 
vironment, and knows this badly. He suffers on account 
of his crass ignorance and does not feel it. For instance, 
to know the weather in advance is of great importance 
for his agricultural success, yet his ways of predicting the 
weather are strange, to say the least. 

'* I am afraid it is going to rain,'' he says on a clear 
summer day. 

** Why? The sky is perfectly cloudless." 

** Yes ; but I feel a buzzing in my ears, and this indi- 
cates bad weather. Whenever you feel a rustling or a 
swirl around your ears, you must know it's a bad omen." 

On another day Ivan Ermolayevitch will begin to recol- 
lect the weather of six months before. If it is, for in- 
stance, July 6th, he will think back to January 6th. This 
is not easy for a man who keeps no diary and has to rely 
on his memory only. Ivan Ermolayevitch will resort to 
the aid of his wife and other members of his family, and 


with united forces they will firmly establish the fact that 
on January 6th past it was snowing. 

*'Weli;' says Ivan Ermolayevitch, "then Til wait 
about drying the hay. If it was snowing on January 6th, 
on July 6th it will certainly rain.'* 

Ivan Ermolayevitch has much more faith in sorcerers 
and conjurers than in physicians. He believes that the 
village witch can do harm to his cows or his horses, or 
even to the members of his family. He believes that 
certain peasants are imbued with an evil spirit, so that 
any business transaction with them may become injurious 
to the other party. He believes in an evil eye, in house 
demons, in ghosts, in fiends, and in the Old Gentleman 
himself entering the body of a young woman. In every 
village there used to be numbers of *' possessed '* women, 
poor hysterical creatures, who believed the Evil One was 
living in them and acting through them. The inhuman 
cries and yells and ghastly words of those afflicted victims 
might have horrified people with a stronger nervous sys- 
tem than the peasants. Numberless family dramas were 
due to those nervous diseases bred by ignorance and 
hardship and thought to be tricks of supernatural 

Ivan Ermolayevitch is a loving father, indeed. Yet 
when his boy is badly hit by the ram he takes less care 
of him than of the sick horse. " For a while the boy lay 
unconscious,'* Uspenski says, " then, when he came to, he 
began to sob like mad, out of sheer fright. It is quite pos- 
sible that the results of this fright will be felt all his life. 
Ivan Ermolayevitch and his wife both ' labored ' over the 
boy, they gave him applications of warm manure, for in- 
stance ; they gave him an infusion of herbs to drink, and, 
in general, they cared for him and grieved over him. But 
they used only such things as could be found * around the 
house,' as is, in general, the way of peasants. Yet when 
.'Ivan Ermolayevitch's mare began to limp, and his cure, 
consisting of some absurd mess smeared over a rag, 


proved of no avail (a rag is in itself considered among 
the peasants something of a medicament) , he went for the 
horse doctor, whom he paid three rubles in silver. I 
must call attention to the fact/' the author continues, 
** that for the cure of horses the people developed a pro- 
fession not entirely charlatanical. The horse doctor has 
some * instruments ' invented by the people, he has ' cer- 
tain,' exact methods, while for the cure of men there is 
no aid but that of conjurers who know less than horse 
doctors. When the boy is crying in agony, the parents 
can do nothing but weep and apply a rag with warm 
manure or some other trash that happens to be lying 
around the house." 

It is a cruel life, and the peasant is used to cruelty. On 
a dark autumn night, when the sky is black, the wind is 
wailing and cold drops of rain are slowly falling, the work 
of wolves and horse thieves begins. The wolves are 
hungry and daring, and they attack the sheep and the 
cattle of the peasants in their very stalls. The horse 
thieves are not less hungry, but more cunning, and aided 
by the helplessness of the villagers they carry out their 
robberies on a large scale. Entire villages are kept in 
constant fear by bands of horse thieves, who do not 
hesitate even to kill or burn the houses of those who offer 
resistance. When at last the villagers lay hold of one of 
the thieves their sentence is unalterably death. The 
cruelty of the execution is appalling. 

Cruelty in personal intercourse marks the entire life 
of the peasant. The father beats his children into uncon- 
sciousness. The husband beats his wife, sometimes twist- 
ing.her loose hair around his hand and dragging her over 
the floor or the court-yard while striking her with the 
other hand. The employer beats his help, the saloon- 
keeper beats the customer for not paying promptly; the 
village reeve beats the members of his community for not 
following the laws, and the district chief of police beats 
all of them because he is chief of police. ** Hitting one's 


snout,'' " breaking the fellow's ribs," " making a black 
eye," are the most common expressions in the village. 

Corporal punishment is recognized by law and exercised 
by the community to an amazing extent. Legally, the com- 
munity court, consisting of peasants only, may sentence 
each member of the community to a certain number of 
rods. The punishment is inflicted not only for actual mis- 
demeanors, but also for failing to pay one's share in the 
taxes which all the villagers are jointly responsible for. 
" The amount of flogging by decision of the community 
courts is enormous," Uspenski writes. " To investigate 
the decisions of the community courts (not to speak of 
looking into the real motives of those decisions) and to 
find out the actual numbers of those flogged, say, in the 
fall months alone, would make one's hair stand upright. 
In the summer of 1881 I personally witnessed the punish- 
ment every day of about thirty peasants. I could not 
believe my eyes when I saw a " team " of thirty grown-up 
peasants returning home after the execution, talking of 
indifferent matters. 

** ' Is it possible that these people have been flogged? ' 
I asked the reeve, who, after the execution, stepped into 
my house to have a smoke. 

** * Of course. I myself charged three of them.' 

" I was puzzled by this," Uspenski writes. ** I could 
not understand how it was possible for an earnest, clever 
peasant, a father of a family, a man whose daughter had 
become a bride, to be put on the floor, stripped of his 
clothes and lashed with birch rods. 

'^ * Is it true that they are thrown forcibly onto the 
ground?' I asked the same reeve. 

" * Some are thrown by force, some lie down willingly. 
To-day they all did it by themselves.' 

** A peasant who only yesterday served as a juror in 
the circuit court and magnanimously saved an unlucky 
fellow by saying, * Not guilty,' " Uspenski adds brood- 
ingly, '* may be flogged to-day till the blood comes, for 


the sole reason that, having met the head of the com- 
munity while intoxicated, he addressed him with, * You 
snub-nosed rabbit.' " 

A poor, barren and cruel life Is necessarily conducive 
to drink. The villagers were given to drunkenness almost 
without exception. Liquor, intoxication and the following 
remorse only increased the misery of the peasants and 
deepened their cruelty and hatred. 

Ivan Ermolayevitch is a member of a land-community. 
The land is not his private property, but belongs to the 
entire community, which reapportions it according to the 
number of *' souls '^ in each family. Yet Ivan has no 
communistic inclinations and is not capable of the simplest 
co-operation with his fellow-villagers. As a matter of 
fact, he hates the reapportionments. He thinks he is 
more industrious and more capable of hard work than 
most; twice already he has improved his share of land 
and been twice deprived of the results of his labors by 
new distributions. Perhaps he is justified in his critical 
attitude toward communal land-ownership as he knows it 
from his village experiences. His aversion to co-opera- 
tion, however, is only due to his low level of culture. He 
might greatly increase the productivity of his land by 
using agricultural machines in copartnership with his 
neighbors, yet he cannot be induced to do so. One of his 
products is hay. The hay he sells to a middleman, who 
presses it and later in the year delivers it to various gov- 
ernmental institutions in Petersburg. The middleman is 
making a fortune. By purchasing a hay-press and deliv- 
ering the product directly to Petersburg, the peasants 
could improve their condition. Still, they prefer to sell 
to the exploiting middleman. The reason is that they 
cannot agree on co-operation. 

" At every turn I, a stranger to the village,'' Uspenski 
says, " could show where the people were losing, where 
they were ruining their well-being. Sometimes I became 
irritated at seeing the perfect indifference of such men as 


Ivan Ermolayevitch to labor-saving devices, to anything 
that might secure the product to those to whom it belongs 
by right. Repeatedly, I had long conversations with him 
as to * neglecting the common interest ' or working for 
the enrichment of all sorts of robbers and exploiters. He 
was deaf and dumb. Nothing could be done in the way 
of collective defense against modern evils thrusting them- 
selves upon the village.'' 

The households of the peasants are isolated from each 
other, leading a perfectly independent life in spite of the 
communal ownership of land. ** Each of the peasant 
houses, burdened by a large mass of moral difficulties that 
could be easily removed by collective attention, resembles 
an uninhabited island where day after day, with the most 
strenuous toil and patience, people are struggling for their 
existence. The weight of this burden is such that it seems 
impossible to live under its strain, and if the peasant 
families are continuing to struggle, it is perhaps due to 
their sincere belief that it is of God's disposing. 

And, as the way is with helpless, inefficient people, the 
peasants are very light-hearted in all affairs not pertaining 
to their own household. The river, for instance, belongs 
to the community. The business man who wants to lease 
the right of fishing has to deal with the entire community 
assembled at a meeting. The way to get the lease is to 
offer the community a number of gallons of whiskey free 
of charge. Whichever of the competing parties gives the 
best *' treat " secures the lease on the most favorable 
conditions. For a certain amount of liquor the com- 
munity loses a hundred times its value. 

At the same time the community cares little or nothing 
for its poor and destitute. If a family has become weaker 
and its working ability has decreased, the community de- 
creases its share of land, which means ruin. If a family 
has lost its head and the remaining members are unable to 
work, the community takes away their share of land, leav- 
ing them to beggary and starvation. These manipula- 


tlons, coupled with a complete non-resistance to the 
moneyed peasants who mistreated their fellow-villagers 
in the most unscrupulous manner, resulted in the accumu- 
lation of two extreme groups at the two poles of the 
village : the village capitalists and the village propertyless 

** This carelessness, this lack of attention to his own 
interests will soon make it impossible for Ivan Ermolaye- 
vitch to live ! '' Uspenski exclaims in despair. '* Ten years 
from now/* he says, '* the peasantry will be squeezed 
between the rich and the destitute and will have to pay 
the severest penalty for their negligence, indifference and 
stupid patience." 

We have seen, in the preceding parts of this work, that 
Usnenski's prophecy came true. 



There is one great love and one deep thought in the 
life of the peasant described by Uspenski. It is the 
love for the soil. This is the thought of all connected 
with the earth. 

One must not think of this as an abstract, symbolic 
soil. No, the peasant knows no abstractions. " It is 
the same soil," Uspenski says, " which you bring home 
on your rubbers in the form of mud, it is the earth you 
see in your flower-pots, black, wet earth ; it is, in a word, 
the most ordinary natural earth." The grip of this earth 
is over the peasant, over millions and millions of peas- 
ants. The earth is their mistress, stern, merciless, all- 
powerful, yet somehow inspiring love and affection. 

The agricultural labor absorbing all the life-blood of 
Ivan Ermolayevitch, seemingly resulting only in food 
for himself, his family and his cattle, Uspenski says, rep- 
resents infinitely more than just labor. Ivan Ermolaye- 
vitch is toiling with the utmost patience not only because 
he needs food and money to pay taxes, but because the 
agricultural labor, with all its ramifications, adaptations 
and contingencies, absorbs all his thoughts, all his men- 
tal and moral activities and even gives him satisfaction. 
In the field of agriculture, with all its emergencies and 
complications, his mind is free, his thought is vivid, his 
intelligence is very keen. The plow, the harrow, the cow, 
the sheep, the ducks, the chickens, — these are his world 
where he moves with perfect ease. He knows nothing 
about politics. He lays the changes of weather upon 
God. He lays the hazard of politics upon tlie Tzar. 
The Tzar wages war, the Tzar has liberated the serfs, 



the Tzar grants land, the Tzar demands money. All this 
the peasant knows In an extremely vague manner, as in 
a haze. Yet when it comes to his own world he is 
omniscient, he knows every minute detail. Every sheep 
has its name, every calf is in his eyes endowed with an 
individual character; he does not sleep nights thinking 
of his geese; he is absorbingly interested in a stone. 

The earth demands labor. In return she not only gives 
him joyous pantheistic feelings, she not only fills his life 
with interest and meaning, but she molds his opinions, 
determines his conceptions of the world in general, indi- 
cates to him what is right and what is wrong, relieves him 
from heavy burdens of responsibility and guides him in 
his family relations as well as in his social affairs. 

The earth wants to be tilled. The earth ought not to 
lie idly around. Therefore it is only just that land should 
be redistributed according to the working capacity of 
every family. Theodoras family has grown stronger 
because his boy is now of working age or his colt has be- 
come a horse; therefore, he is entitled to more land. 
Mary's family has grown weaker, because she has mar- 
ried off her daughter or her cow has died; therefore 
Mary should receive less of the community-land. An 
energetic, industrious peasant is entitled to more land than 
a weak and lazy one. Such is the law of the earth. 

The earth requires obedience. She teaches her people 
to submit to an unrestricted, absolutlstic, incontrollable 
and incomprehensible power, wilful and soulless in its 
cruelty, — the power of nature. Ivan Ermolayevitch is 
used to patience, indeed. He toils on his field in the 
sweat of his brow, and nature destroys the results. He 
looks for rain day after day, and rain does not come ; he 
hopes for fair weather to harvest his crops, and nature 
sends showers. The forces of nature make him a toy 
in their hands, and he does not revolt. Here is the dark 
cloud he has been looking for with beating heart. In it 
his happiness, his life, his well-being are centered. The 


clouds are heaping up, growing, becoming darker. Ivan 
Ermolayevitch feels almost a physical craving for the 
water contained in those clouds. Now a wind is coming. 
It is thundering, lightning. The first heavy drops are 
falling. But — alas — the clouds have passed. The water 
has not come. The fields are dry as before. Nature is 
mocking, as it were. Nature is perfectly indifferent to 
Ivan Ermolayevitch's heart-desires. Ivan Ermolayevitch 
has to submit, to be patient, infinitely, invariably patient. 

So he is. 

On the other hand, the earth gives him the joy of 
command over others. Not only is he the absolute mas- 
ter of his cow, his horses, his hog, his chickens, but also 
of the human elements of his household. He allots to 
every member of the family his work, he demands from 
every one according to his strength, he makes the neces- 
sary purchases in town, he sells the products. In a word, 
he thinks for all and cares for all, and obedience to his 
orders seems to him as natural as his own obedience to 
the laws of nature. Here is his sister, a beautiful girl. 
For seven years the nicest boys of the village have wooed 
her. Yet she is unmarried, because her brother does not 
allow her to marry. Her brother cannot spare her from 
the household. Last year when the cattle plague was 
raging, he lost two horses, and the money provided for 
the wedding was spent to fill in the gap. This year he 
rented a few acres of land from the landlord and the 
working power of the girl is doubly needed to till the 
new land. She cannot marry. She has to wait, and 
patiently she does so. On the contrary, here is the young- 
est of three brothers. He was in love with a strong and 
good-looking girl, yet he had to marry a monster. Why? 
Because the mistress of the house is a wilful, quarrelsome 
old woman. The oldest brother's wife is a woman with 
a strong character, but she obeys the orders of her 
mother-in-law. The second brother's wife is rather an 
invalid and therefore submissive to the old woman as 


well as to the oldest brother's wife, and so far there is 
peace in the family. The girl the youngest brother was 
wooing was of a strong, self-reliant character. She would 
probably have obeyed her mother-in-law, but she would 
never have tolerated the command of the younger women. 
This would have been a source of quarrels and endless 
dissatisfaction which would have had a bad effect on the 
work. Therefore it was decided that the boy must marry 
a monster who would not dare to raise her voice, and the 
boy gives up his beautiful, healthy, self-reliant sweetheart. 
He does not repine. Such is the law of the earth. 

The earth has everything cut out for her people. She 
gives them moral ease, she takes upon herself every re- 
sponsibility for their actions. A man in the grip of the 
earth cannot be guilty, Uspenski says. " This one has 
killed a man who has stolen his horse; yet he is not guilty, 
since no work can be done on the earth without a horse. 
This one's children have all died, yet he is not guilty, 
because there have been bad crops, the earth has not 
yielded the requisite amount of food, and the children 
have suffered starvation. This one has beaten his wife to 
death, and still he is not guilty, because his wife was a 
lazy, good-for-nothing woman who hampered his work 
and allowed the machinery of his household to fall to 
pieces.'' Whatever the peasant does, he has to do, being 
under the command of his mistress. He need not invent 
a life for himself, he need not look for interests or emo- 
tions. They are all given to him. When it is raining 
he has to sit home, when the weather is fair he has to 
reap, mow, etc. Never responsible, never innovating, 
always obeying, the man lives, and this seemingly aimless 
process is an end in itself. 

" Why does this oak-tree grow? What benefit does it 
derive from drawing the sap of the earth for a hundred 
years? Of what advantage is it for the tree to cloak 
itself with leaves, then to lose them and finally to feed 
the pigs with its acorns? The benefit and the advantage 


of all this for the oak-tree consist just in the fact that it 
grows, that it becomes green, that it simply lives. The 
life of the peasant is not very different from the life of 
the tree." 

There had been a time when this natural " tree-like '' 
life was in a state of perfect equilibrium. At the time 
when Uspenski was making his studies, however, the 
village-life was already unstable, every emergency caus- 
ing the individual household to collapse. The '' natural," 
*' tree-like " peasant was working for a modern market, 
exchanging the products of his land for money, purchas- 
ing for his money cotton-goods and iron-implements and 
other industrial products and paying taxes to support an 
enormous administrative machine. Ivan Ermolayevitch 
was unconsciously drawn into the current of modern ex- 
change. Ivan Ermolayevitch's wants were growing al- 
most against his will. He could not meet his obligations 
unless he increased the output of his land. He could 
not increase the output, however, unless he stopped liv- 
ing a " tree-like " life and resorted to methods of im- 
proved agriculture. This being out of the question 
owing to his lack of knowledge, initiative and freedom, 
being rendered quite impossible besides by the com- 
munal ownership on land, our Ivan Ermolayevitch 
has developed an inordinate greed for money — and for 

His greed for money is overwhelming. Somehow or 
other, money has been easily acquired by some of his 
neighbors. One of them had gone to the capital, where 
he became a driver. Another had been working at the 
nearby railroad station and had earned money. A third 
happened to become connected with a '* gentleman " from 
the city who used to throw his money to the dogs. Peo- 
ple have contrived to become prosperous. Their example 
sets Ivan Ermolayevitch's brain aflame. He is ready to 
do anything for cash. No moral barrier can stop him in 
his pursuit of " easy money." Honesty, self-respect, fear 


of God, fear of sin, all considerations directing his rela- 
tions with his fellow-peasants and the earth are put aside 
when our Ivan Ermolayevitch comes in contact with city 
folk and ways of money-making outside of agriculture. 
He is beside himself. He is appalling. He abhors his 
neighbors who remain bound to the glebe. He is loath to 
help his brother in need. He surpasses in greed and un- 
scrupulousness the worst sharks of the city. He is like a 
savage thrown into the midst of a civilized world remain- 
ing utterly alien to this world. He must have money. 
Nothing else matters. 

Still, the average peasant hates to leave his earth. He 
is too deeply rooted in the agricultural surroundings. 
Ivan Afanasyev, another representative of the village 
depicted by Uspenski, is an example of a '' real peasant '* 
in the best sense of the word. He is indissolubly attached 
to the earth. For him, the earth is the real fosterer, the 
only source of joy and sorrow, happiness and misfortune, 
the subject of prayers and thanksgivings. The agricul- 
tural work, agricultural cares and interests form the entire 
substance of Ivan Afanasyev's mental world to the exclu- 
sion of any other thought. Ivan Afanasyev would never 
dream of leaving his " mother earth,*' and looking for 
other occupations. He is in love with the earth, he is more 
than that. He is one with her, there is a bond of mutual 
welfare and mutual truthfulness between him and his mis- 
tress. " But — alas — '' Uspenski says, " a time has come 
when nobody cares for Ivan's relations to the earth, for 
their purity and beauty; nobody thinks of the fact that 
those relations form the foundation of all the Russian 
peasantry, the source of Its vigor. ' Money ! Where is 
your money ! ' is the imperative demand of the new times. 
' How can I leave the earth ! Have mercy with me, 
how is it possible for the earth to be deserted? We all 
live on the earth,' Ivan Afanasyev replies. But the new 
times are merciless. 'Money! Money' is their in- 
'cessant clamor." And Ivan Afanasyev abandons his 


beautiful honest relation to the earth and begins to look 
for " easy money.'* 

Such cases, however, are the exceptions. The bulk of 
the peasantry are compelled to remain on the earth and to 
make a living from agricultural labor. Easy money is, 
after all, a mere chance, while the earth is the founda- 
tion of life. The craving for earth is, therefore, one of 
the most characteristic features of the peasant's psy- 
chology. Give him double the area of land he is holding 
now, and our Ivan Ermolayevitch or Ivan Afanasyev 
will be happy. Do not talk to him of a system of rota- 
tion of crops, — he could not try it under communal 
ownership even if he were prepared to do so. Do not 
talk to him of co-operative manufacturing of dairy prod- 
ucts or vegetables for the city market, — he has no money 
and no technical experience for such undertakings, and 
he will not understand you. Do not try to argue that the 
area of land is limited and that even if his share of land 
could be increased momentarily, the growth of the family 
would make the situation hopeless in a few years, — our 
peasant will not be convinced. Ivan Ermolayevitch and 
Ivan Afanasyev are not used to abstract thinking. They 
cannot and do not want to look into the future. Political 
problems of a broader aspect are foreign to them. They 
do not even think of the peasantry as a whole. What 
they are concerned with is their community or, at the ut- 
most, a small number of neighboring communities. 
Those communities, our peasant knows firmly and un- 
shakably, could be improved by an increase in their land 
possessions. This he sees. This is fixed in his very blood 
by his agricultural work and agricultural conception of 
the world. It is a truth as clear as daylight. 

Whence could the land come? Our peasant lives in 
constant expectation of a miracle. He does not under- 
stand the fabric of modern society. He has no idea of 
the complexities of economic problems. He has no gen- 
eral view of the life of his country. The whole world of 


social relations he lives in appears to him a great mys- 
terious thicket full of shadows, traps, ghosts and, very 
seldom, favorable spirits. Out of this thicket, he hopes, 
sooner or later a great radiant power will emerge to lead 
him into the haven of peasants' happiness, — the full pos- 
session of the entire land. 

Who will this great liberator be? Will it be a Tzar? 
Will it be a saint? Will it be God himself? The peasant 
does not know. He does not question. It is his creed. 
Possibly he would not be able to live without it. 

On winter evenings the peasants gather in one of the 
houses to listen to the Bible. In the streets the wind 
wails and the snow threatens to bury the little cabins. In 
the house the tiny lamp vainly struggles against the 
shadows creeping from every corner. Heavy, awkward 
figures fill the small space. Brown, sunburnt faces lean 
over scrawny, sinewy hands. One of the old men reads 
the Holy Scriptures, and invariably the interpretation 
centers around the increase of land. " Listening to the 
village interpreters of the Bible,'* Uspenski says, " you 
gain the impression that the Book was written only to 
show the peasants that ** a king will come and give them 
land.'' The abstruse and hazy text of the Apocalypse, 
zealously read by those of the villagers who know how to 
read, becomes unexpectedly clear and comprehensible in 
their interpretation. It appears that the entire book 
was written to show that there will be enough land. 
Wherever you meet the words " united " or " I have 
united " or " they shall become united," there is no doubt 
that the text refers to land. " They shall become united," 
— the interpreter reads, *' of course it means that; don't 
you know? We have lost our land, and we have lost the 
ravine and the woods; therefore It is written, * They 
shall come back ' and ' They shall become united ' ; that 
means the land will return to us." 

" Is there any indication that we shall have to lose them 



" Of course there is ! Here'' ... 

And soon the reader finds a sentence containing the 
words, '' I shall destroy," " I shall dissolve " and another 
sentence after it saying, " I shall unite." 

'' That's it: first they take it away, then they'll give it 

'' There are in ' Revelation ' indications of a purely 
local character," Uspenski says. " For instance, the land 
of one of the villages had been divided into three parts 
while the land of another had been distributed between 
two new owners.* Each of those villages discovers in 
the Apocalypse references to its specific land situation. 
The first finds something like, * Three in one,' the other 
is glad to see a promise in * The two shall become 
united.' Each village believes in those revelations with 
deep reverence and devotion. In the course of a con- 
versation with one of the interpreters, I asked him: 

*' ' Will they take away my land, too, when the time is 

" * How much land have you? ' 

" * One dessatin.' 

" The man meditated for a while, then he questioned 
me carefully as to where and how I had purchased the 
land, and after further deliberation answered: 

" * When the time is ripe you are entitled to more.' 

" Then he mused for a while and finally added : 

" * When the time is ripe you must receive fourteen 

" All this he had found in the Holy Scriptures. Even 
the number of fifteen dessatin to be allotted to every 
person, it appears, was contained in ' Revelation.' The 
interpreter promised to show me the verse where it was 

" Imagine this gray-haired peasant, fatigued from 
labor," Uspenski adds, '' imagine that each word of his 

*The author speaks of the land the peasants had lost in 1861, when 
serfdom was abolished. See above, Chapters III and IV. 


interpretation Is spoken with profound reverence and 
accepted with similar faith, and you will be impressed 
with the passionate longing for land experienced by the 
peasants. They need it not only as their daily bread, but 
as the foundation of the bright future they cherish in their 
Imagination/' * 

Twenty years after Uspenski had made his studies of 
peasant life, a press correspondent described a dispute 
he had witnessed in one of the villages In the time of the 
revolution. The dispute took place between the local 
priest and one of the peasants. The priest was defending 
law and property on land, the peasant was In favor of 
the formula, *' The land belongs to the people.'* His 
arguments he based solely on the Bible. 

" Thq prophet Ezekiel,'' the peasant said, " declared 
that It was the will of God that the land should be divided 
among the people equally and by lot. Chapter 47, 
verses 21, 22, 23 read: 'So shall ye divide this land 
unto you according to the tribes of Israel. And it shall 
come to pass, that ye shall divide It by lot for an In- 
heritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn 
among you, which shall beget children among you.' Even 
the Tzars are not allowed to have unlimited land. 
Ezeklel, Chapter 46, verse 8, says: * In the land shall 
be his possession In Israel: and my princes shall no 
more oppress my people : and the rest of the land shall 
they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes.' " 

" That was long ago," the priest replied. 

" What does It matter," the peasant answered. *' The 
laws of God are eternal and unshakable from everlasting 
to everlasting. Also In Leviticus, Chapter 25, verse 
23, it is said: * The land shall not be sold forever: for 
the land is mine.' God does not want the land to be 
sold, only to be rented." 

*An quotations of Chapters XXI and XXII are taken from Uspenski: 
"Village Diary," "Peasant and Peasant Labor," "The Power of the 
Earth," "Talks with a Friend," all collected in Vols. IV and V of his 
complete works, edition 1908. 


" Well, what does it prove? " 

** It proves that nobody is allowed to acquire property 
in land, and that whoever suffers land to be purchased 
or received in private property as a gift, violates the laws 
of God and is equal to a worshiper of idols." 

The peasant looked round the audience, then added: 

** * Woe to them that join house to house, that lay field 
to field till there is no place, that they may be placed alone 
in the midst of the earth,' says the prophet Isaiah." 

This agricultural interpreter of the Bible was by no 
means an exception among his fellow-peasants. Rural 
Russia was " in the grip of the earth." *' Mother earth," 
they believed, could not deceive her people. Sooner or 
later she must come and press them all to her bosom and 
give them happiness and freedom. 



At the beginning of the revolution, the Russian peas- 
antry were far less homogeneous than they had been in 
Uspenski's time. Fluctuations of the village population 
from village to town and vice versa, economic and social 
differentiations within the village itself had wrought deep 
changes in the fabric of rural life. New types had made 
their appearance. New visions stirred the gloomy air. 
Here is the peasant who goes away every summer to serve 
as a farm hand In distant provinces, leaving his own land 
in the care of his wife and half-grown children, and who, 
wandering from railway station to railway station, from 
inn to inn, from one rural district to another, meets all 
sorts of people and hears all sorts of conversations, till 
his horizon necessarily broadens. Here Is the peasant 
who has worked for a time In the large city, serving as 
a horse driver or wood-chopper or janitor, and who 
brings back with him to his native village new ideas of 
comfort, respectability and personal freedom. Here Is 
the new peasant-reader who takes out books from the 
little school-library, adding to their Ideas from his own 
Innate Intelligence, Interpreting them In a most surprising 
manner and coming to very radical conclusions. Here is 
the revolutionary worklngman who has participated in 
a labor organization in one of the industrial centers, read- 
ing revolutionary literature, listening to revolutionary 
speeches, perhaps himself doing revolutionary work, and 
who, for partaking In a labor strike, has been banished 
by the authorities to his native village. All these mem- 
bers of the rural community do the work of enlightening 
their neighbors. The public school, meager as Is its 



course of teaching, does its share in civilizing and modern- 
izing the younger generations. Time and again a '* real " 
revolutionary agitator, sent by the Social-Revolutionary 
or Social-Democratic Party, would succeed in establishing 
connections with some of the peasants, furnishing them 
with literature, sometimes even conducting a strike against 
the local landlord. 

Still, there is only one way in which the new concep- 
tions are refracted in the peasants' brains : this is in the 
relation to the land. As the organs of the human senses 
react each in its particular way, so that the eye, for in- 
stance, always gives the sensations of light notwithstand- 
ing the kind of irritation the eye-nerve receives, — so the 
peasant's mind always reacts in a hope for land notwith- 
standing the kind of ideas with which it becomes familiar. 
The peasant may agree with the agitator that civic op- 
pression is bad, but he thinks that lack of land is worse; 
he may hate the chief of police who collects the outstand- 
ing taxes, he may despise the Zemski Natchalnik and his 
superiors, but he hates and despises the landlord more, 
though the latter may be a liberal and well-meaning man. 

This specific clinging to the earth is a characteristic 
feature of all Russian literature dealing with the peasant 
in the time of the revolution. A. Seraphimovitch in a 
story called At Midnight, describes a gathering of 
workingmen and peasants. The workingmen are em- 
ployed in the factories of a great southern town. The 
peasants are engaged in the construction of a turnpike 
through the mountains not far from the town. The 
workingmen call a secret meeting in the mountains in 
order to talk to the peasants about the necessity of im- 
proving the condition of their lives. In a log-house high 
up in the heart of the mountains the two groups meet. 
The workingmen are neatly dressed, their manners are 
free, their speech comparatively fluent. The peasants 
are grave, awkward, rugged, silent, full of elemental 
power; their speech is rude, their clothes are shabby. 


One of the workingmen makes an address. He is not 
an experienced orator; he is sometimes confused in 
his expression. Yet he spices his speech with words like 
" the economic production of capitalism," ** bourgeois 
order," '' industrial crises," ** exploitation " and " work- 
ers of all the countries, unite." All those new words, 
new conceptions, the author says, entered the gray, en- 
cumbered life of the workingman as something big, 
luminous, radiant, full of joyous promise. He lives a 
boresome, monotonous life, but above its irksome every- 
day toil and hardship hovers something like a morning 
sun, screening with its glory the cruel reality, shines the 
tremendous hope of an all-embracing happiness — the 
coming emancipation. 

Another more popular speaker takes the floor. The 
peasants listen attentively. He speaks of the necessity 
of political freedom, illustrating his program by the very 
life of the peasants gathered at the meeting. Have they 
not been forbidden to assemble openly to discuss their 
situation? Have they not been compelled to make the 
perilous trip to the mountains in night time to listen to 
a word of truth? *' What do the working people need? " 
the speaker asks emphatically. 

And from the midst of the gloomy peasant crowd a 
voice answers: 

'' Land." 

And the walls of the cabin reverberate with passionate 
cries r 

**Land! Land I" 

** An increase in the shares of land." 

** The earth is our mother." . . . 

** She nourishes all." 

" There is no life without her." 

"What are we without land! Destitute creatures! 

Vagrants 1 " 

" We do not see our families. We wander like Cain 

over distant regions." 


The effect surprises the agitators. They are angry, 
their eyes flash fire. They answer in deep scorn: '' Can 
you bite your earth? Can you work her with your bare 
hands?'' But louder than reason, more passionate than 
any love of truth sounds the cry of the peasants: 

" Mother-earth is good for all men ... she creates 
all . . . she provides for all . . . she will give hap- 
piness to all. ..." 

The owner of the log-cabin says with a grave accent: 

" For ten years I have been toiling here. In winter 
the snow buries my house, I do not hear a human voice, 
I do not see a human face. What has it all been for? 
I have hoped to save some money to buy land. ... As 
you know your own children, so I knew every copeck, 
each one covered with sweat, with blood, with pain. . . . 
I have hoped all the time, day and night: Land I Four 
dessatin at least ... all for myself. . . . Our 
earth! . . . O great God! ..." 

The love for the earth drowns all other considerations. 
Far across their native steppes the peasants send their 
land-psalm from the top of the southern mountain. 

**Land! Land!" 

At the time of the revolution this age-old longing 
turned into a desire for immediate action. The peasants 
became impatient. The time had become ripe, it seemed 
to them; their happiness was within reach of their hand. 

This call of the time is very vividly depicted in a story 
by Skitaletz, The Burning Forest, Miron, the hero of 
the story, is perhaps the most enlightened type the vil- 
lage had produced. He reads books. He has connec- 
tions with revolutionary organizations. He has organ- 
ized a group of young peasants who are entirely under 
his influence. He even tries to understand the differences 
of opinion between the warring factions in the ranks of 
the revolutionists. He looks more like a student than 
a real peasant. 

1 . '. m'^'H 



























"• T3 
Q ^ 

=^ ^ 

< ^- 

t: o 

>* o 

< '^ 






■»>'> ' .-. itVr . >'. rc^^ ii n ^* I 


" He resembled a student of peasant parents," the 
author says. ** He was a strong fellow of twenty-seven, 
blond, with a small light mustache, with a handsome 
sunburnt face. His gray eyes sparkled with cleverness, 
cunning and gladness. Such faces can be seen among 
poor students and among some of the workingmen. He 
wore his hair closely cropped; his attire consisted of a 
workman's blouse and high boots. Yet, resembling a 
student, he remained a Mujik: strong, sinewy, succu- 
lent, very much like a carrot just drawn from the ground. 
He was all saturated with the odor of sunshine and 

The Mujik-qualiiy marks Miron not only in his physi- 
cal appearance, but also in his mental make-up. He is a 
man capable of thinking. He is far superior to the local 
school-teacher whom he tries to make a member of his 
secret organization. The teacher is surprised to learn 
that Miron has read books he himself has never heard of. 
He has to admit that this man whom he had at first 
treated as an ordinary peasant has a better political edu- 
cation and a stronger grip on social problems than him- 
self. The teacher, the professional ** intellectual,'' looks 
up with envy to the strong, self-assured Mujik who seems 
to have found a great stirring truth. Yet, at the same 
time, Miron is essentially and basically a peasant. 

"Look here, isn't this beautiful?" he says to the 
teacher, pointing at the woods burning on the other side 
of the Volga. 

" What's the beauty? " the teacher replies. 

"The forest is aflame! The government's forest! 
You just climb the hill up there and take a look: the fire 
is surging near and far ! The smoke is rising over the 
Volga in tremendous pillars! Yes, these are times! 
Things are going on, brother ! " 

" Why does it burn? " the teacher grumbles. 

Miron exclaims in ecstasy: 

"Why, it's the peasants who set the forest aflame! 


Don't you know that? The guards have already given 
up the struggle against the fire ; it is ridiculous ; no sooner 
do they quench it at one place than a new fire is raging at 
another. No, brother! You cannot fight against the 
people I Everything will be burned down ! " 

*' Is that so? " the teacher wonders. 

A new spark kindles Miron's eyes. He is overflowing 
with strong emotion. 

'* The people have moved! " he exclaims. "The en- 
tire people are in motion. Have you heard what is going 
on across the river? In Vassilyevo they have declared a 
rent strike, they want to pay only five rubles instead of 
eleven for a dessatin. In other villages they don't pay 
at all. Give us the land free of charge, they say, be- 
cause it is ours, it is peasants' land! " 

Miron energetically shakes his head, smites himself on 
his knee, and continues with shining eyes : 

" And what do you say to that? They gave them the 
land free! Oho!" 

Miron is all radiant with malicious peasant joy. The 
spacious blouse is full of his vigorous muscular body, and 
through it one can see his broad chest heaving. 

The teacher is overwhelmed. He becomes silent. But 
now Miron has touched the most vital chord in his heart. 
He cannot restrain himself. 

" Those Democrats ! " he exclaims with deep scorn. 
** They are just talking. Some say one thing, others just 
the opposite," he turns his palm first in one direction, 
then in another. *' And all the time they are debating 
among themselves ! " 

He shrugs his shoulders, spreads his arms out, then 
continues with a grave expression on his face : 

*' It is not up to us to decide who's right. We, Mujiks, 
know only one thing: Land! First give us land, then 
go on debating. First increase to each his share of land, 
then we'll see, perhaps we'll be able to find a way through 
your illegal literature ! " 


Mlron is not very firm in pronouncing such " intel- 
lectual '' words as *' illegal literature/' yet he fires away 

'' And if you won't give, we'll take the land ourselves," 
he adds with a proud air. 

" When he spoke of the earth," the author says, ** his 
face underwent a peculiar transformation ; it assumed an 
inspired, poetic expression, and his low voice glowed in 
warm tones. One could feel a powerful thirst and a ten- 
der love for the earth. It was as if he had compressed 
something momentous which he hid in his breast and 
which only the word * earth ' could stir." 

'* Is it possible? " the teacher asks. " Can the people 

And full of prophetic ardor is Miron's voice as he 
answers : 

**Yes! The people will win! Truth will be trium- 
phant! " 

Miron is overcome by emotion, his eyes are wet with 
tears, he almost whispers when he declares with a 
trembling voice : 

** The great hour has struck ! " 

Miron and his associates of the secret organization 
have no time for meditation. " The forests are burning." 
The peasants are refusing to pay rent. The peasants are 
plowing the fields belonging to the noble masters. The 
peasants are attacking the Cossacks and soldiers sent to 
protect the landlords' mansions. Can one wait any 
longer ? Can one listen to the voice of moderation ? Can 
one be cautious ? 

The necessity of caution and moderation and wise 
preparation for the final blow is emphasized by an old 
intellectual agitator, Michaylo Vasilyitch, the local agri- 
culturist. For fifteen years he has been trying to spread 
among the peasants the seeds of political dissatisfaction. 
For fifteen years he has been conducting his work, grad- 
ually, with the utmost patience, with infinite precaution. 


He has brought up a new generation that cherishes the 
ideas of humanity, of freedom, of happiness for all. He 
loves his ** boys *' as a father loves his own children. But 
now the children have become rebellious against their 
father. He is too slow. He does not lead them to the 
battle. Under the leadership of young Miron they as- 
semble to ** hold a court '* over Michaylo Vasilyitch. 

It is a beautiful evening. A light breeze is playing in 
the slender birch-trees, limes and elms. From the hill- 
side where the peasants are assembled, a broad view 
opens on the Volga, on the mountains looming near the 
opposite bank, on peaceful valleys bathing in the last 
caressing glow of the sun. The landscape is veiled in a 
light mist of sadness. The giant river cradles on its 
breast the thin creeping shadows. Everything is full of 
rest, tenderness, love. But the people are restless. The 
people are deeply stirred. 

Miron is the chief speaker. His words are full of 

" We have been patient," he says, and his voice rings 
like a clarion call. *' We have waited for hundreds of 
years. When we asked for truth, they punished us, they 
flogged us, they put us in prison. We were patient, there 
was no end to our endurance. Cursed be it, the peasants' 
endurance! In bloody tears we have bathed this stony 
ground, with our very bones we have manured it. Yet — 
we were patient. . . . Then you came. You talked of 
truth. You taught us to stand for truth, to sacrifice every- 
thing for It, even our wives, our fathers and mothers. 
We have followed you. This was not easy. The nights 
we were spending with you our wives were suffering tor- 
tures, knowing nothing about the reasons for our absence, 
suspecting us of unfaithfulness, crying. Our fathers were 
constantly fighting with us for God, for the church, for 
fast-days. Our families were full of quarrels, mistrust, 
discontent. Yet we were following you, because your 
words were like a new religion for which we were ready 


to endure privation. Now the time has come. Our 
patience is exhausted. We have come to you and told 
you : ' Lead us I Tell us what to do, we are ready.' But 
you do not lead us and you do not let us alone, either. 
You stand in our way. You are unable to put your own 
words into practice. It seems to us that your soul is full 
of mortal fright. Well, we don't blame you. We only 
ask you for God's sake : step aside, take your rest, let 
us act according to our wishes. The time of whispering 
in the backyards has gone. We must speak aloud I The 
time has come for us all to go and take our peasant-hap- 
piness with our own hands." 

The assembled peasants echo Miron's sentiment by ex- 
claiming : 

"True! It's true!" 

" It's time you tendered your resignation." 

" We revoke our mandate ! " 

" Go away I It's impossible to work with you I " 

Deeply moved is Michaylo Vasilyitch when he answers : 

" Yes, I cannot rise with you, because you rise in an 
elemental fashion. You set woods on fire, you openly 
seize land, you are going to attack the estates of the land- 
lords. I don't care for the woods, I don't care for the 
landlords, I care for you : you will be slaughtered by the 
Cossacks, you will be killed, you will be put into prison I 
My work will be ruined; all that I was building for fifteen 
years will go to pieces. If this is why you drive me away, 
I shall be frank : I shall not lead you, I shall try to stop 
you on this way as long as victory is not secured. . . . 
I am not a coward. Perhaps there will come a time 
when I'll prove with my death that I was not afraid of 
death. I only beg of you not to try to face the bullets, 
to be careful. . . . You are the intellectuals among the 
peasants, you are few in number. You will be 
slaughtered by your own fellow-villagers who are not 
enlightened." . . . 

Vain are all these appeals to reason. The call of the 


earth is stronger. Michaylo Vasilyitch Is obliged to quit. 
Young Miron is elected leader. 

What are his " intellectual " friends going to do under 
his leadership? Of this the rural tragedies of 1905-06 
tell an eloquent tale. Russian literature bristles with 
stories of conflicts between landlords and peasants, of 
burning estates, of flogged peasants, of outraged peasant 
women, of blood and misery and despair. 

Here is one of a great flood of stories. It is written 
by Mouijel, a man who knows the village thoroughly and 
who is endowed with a strong sense of reality. The name 
of the story is Rent. 

The peasants of a certain village decide to rent no 
longer a piece of land belonging to the landlord Laptyev. 
The land has been rented by the village for generations, 
but owing to constant increase in rent and to the general 
unrest, the peasants refuse to renew the contract, though 
they face starvation without it. Laptyev hires laborers 
from a distant village to plow the piece of land. One 
morning these laborers find their plows and other imple- 
ments thrown into the swamp. Laptyev, suspecting the 
dissatisfied peasants, sends to the authorities an appeal 
for protection. A squad of Cossacks appears in the vil- 
lage. The Cossacks are placed in the houses of the peas- 
ants; where the houses are too small, the peasants with 
their families have to move to the barn or the shed. The 
Cossacks drink whisky and carouse and in various ways 
abuse the peasants. Abraham, the leader of the rent- 
strike and one of the most enlightened villagers, is simply 
choking with hate. He is poor. He is miserable. He 
has suffered all his life. He is determined to revenge 
himself. One dark night a band of peasants attack the 
Cossacks. A terrible slaughter follows. The Cossacks 
are infuriated. They strike with their sabers, they tram- 
ple the peasants under the hoofs of their horses. Many 
Cossacks invade the homes of the peasants, outraging 
young and old women in the presence of their mothers 


and children. In the turmoil, Abraham encounters a 
Cossack officer whom he deals a terrific blow with a club. 
Then he flees to the woods. In the dark of the following 
night he steals himself to his family, only to find that his 
wife has been outraged. He spends a few hours at home, 
but he cannot stay, as he is being sought for assaulting 
the officer. With the first rays of dawn he is on his way 
back to the woods, but a Cossack crosses his path. He 
attacks the Cossack. In blind despair he crushes the 
skull of his foe and flees. The Cossack is dead. Abra- 
ham is an outlaw. A few days later he is caught, put in 
irons and brought before the court-martial. 

Abraham will die. Nothing can save him. But nothing 
can save the landlord, either. The eldest of the com- 
munity, a patriarch, a deeply religious man, a constant 
reader of Ecclesiastes and an ex-soldier under Nicholas 
I, decides to kill Laptyev. He takes his old rifle and 
disappears. The woods are all searched, but he cannot 
be discovered. He is obliged to deal justice. If he 
falls into the hands of his enemies, another villager will 
take his place and his task. " Eye for eye, tooth for 
tooth " is the law of the revolting village. 


The peasant drinks " brick-tea " (tea pressed in the 
form of cakes), while the landlord drinks fragrant 
'* regular " tea. The peasant takes a bite of sugar with 
his tea, using one lump for seven or eight cups, while the 
landlord puts two or three lumps into each cup. The 
peasant smokes canister-tobacco whose smoke is suffo- 
cating and poisonous, while the landlord uses " soft and 
tender tobacco with a mild odor." The peasant wears a 
heavy old sheepskin coat, while the landlord wears furs 
*' as light as a feather " and so soft that you love to 
caress them. The peasant is glad when he has meat for 
his Sunday meal, confining himself on week-days to rye 
bread and *' empty shchi " (sour-cabbage soup without 
meat), sometimes to bran-flour bread and onions, while 
the landlord has a meal of three courses every day with 
ice cream or waffles in addition. The peasant goes to 
bed with sunset and gets up with sunrise, saving kerosene 
and clothes, while the landlord has guests in the evening, 
music plays, and merry people dance till late into the 
night. The peasant is so hardened that he does not cry 
even when his beloved son dies, while the landlord's wife, 
a tender-hearted creature, sheds bitter tears over the 
death of her riding horse. And in general, they are such 
a queer lot, those people of the mansion. The women 
wear ridiculous structures on their heads, something 
similar to a bird's nest and a shed roof; the girls ride on 
horseback in trousers, like men (what a shame!) and 
altogether they do nothing but eat and read books and 
have pleasure. 



The peasants feel superior to those good-for-nothing 
weak folk, and they sincerely wonder why the world 
needs these lazy, wicked and greedy consumers of all the 
good things. Just imagine : the landlord and his family 
always sit in cushioned chairs, while the peasant never has 
a chance even to try how it feels to rest in one. And 
whence did the " noble squire '* get his comforts if not 
from the work of the peasants in his fields? Yet those 
fields are not his at all, and the whole lot are simply a 
cluster of parasites on the back of the *' people.'' 

This is the attitude of the village to the landlord in 
Evgeni Tchirikov's Mujiks, a four-act play reproducing 
with photographic accuracy a state of affairs which must 
necessarily have culminated in disaster. The landlord's 
house is perhaps no more comfortable than the house of 
a prosperous American farmer. His standard of living 
is far from luxurious. Yet, compared with the life of the 
average Mujik, his life seems exceedingly opulent. The 
pathetic feature of the situation is that the landlord him- 
self is a liberal man, a leader of the progressives in the 
Zemstov. He is whole-heartedly in favor of political 
and social reforms which would improve the situation of 
the peasantry, yet he can by no means give up his landed 
estates. As a matter of fact, he is far from successful 
in his agricultural enterprise : his debts are heavy, the 
income does not suffice to cover running expenses. Some- 
times he gets tired of the strain ; on such occasions he de- 
clares he would be happy to give up everything, land, 
worries, peasants' dissatisfaction and all. His property, 
however, will not let him go, and with set teeth he con- 
tinues to do the troublesome work. There is a meadow 
which the peasants of his village used to rent for com- 
munal pasturage. He would have greatly preferred the 
peasants as tenants could they have afforded to pay the 
rent in advance. This, however, being out of the ques- 
tion, he is compelled to rent the meadow to a town 
capitalist who advances him a considerable sum of money. 


He cannot help it. He feels sympathy with the peasants 
whose cattle are doomed to starvation, but imperative 
economic necessity is above personal feelings. 

The peasants do not take all this into consideration. 
They do not even distinguish between a liberal and a 
reactionary landlord. They live in a strange world of 
rumors, dreams, visions and restless expectations. A 
horse driver has come from the town telling about a 
" manifesto." In the inn, he says, people have read a 
paper which declared the landlords had no right to own 
the land. An old man has heard that in Petersburg the 
authorities are elaborating plans as to how much land 
each peasant should be granted. The old man thinks it 
only proper. " In the Bible," he says, *' God blessed the 
people and gave them * every herb bearing seed which is 
on the face of the earth,' and here the people have no 
bread: this is unjust." There is a rumor that the heir 
of the throne wanders over the country disguised as a 
private man, in order to learn from the people, not from 
the Tchinovnicks, what their need is. He is much grieved 
to see the misery of the people, and soon a new law will 
be issued which will put an end to sufferings and privation. 
The peasants put their heads together and tell each other 
in a whisper that the heir of the throne sheds bitter tears 
over the lot of the people, that the Tchinovnicks are very 
much disquieted and that they put into prison every one 
who has talked with the Tzarevitch. A peasant girl has 
even seen the Tzarevitch while picking mushrooms in 
the woods : he wore a peasant cloak over a uniform with 
shining buttons and spoke to her tenderly, asking her 
whether she was tired and how much land each family 
was holding. 

The peasants are all astir. The Zemski Natchalnik 
summons some representatives of the village to listen to 
a paper received from the governor. It is nothing un- 
usual in the life of the peasants; but this time they are 
full of joyous anticipation. They are ready to ring the 


big church bell, to hold a solemn service in celebration of 
the great news. That the " paper '* contains the long- 
looked-for improvements, nobody doubts for a second. 
** Everybody will receive aid from the government, either 
seeds, or cash, as they choose," one of the Mujiks says. 
" They will give horses, too,'' another remarks, " because 
there's no use having land when you can't plow it." *' The 
Zemski Natchalnick has orders to purchase one million of 
grain," a third joins in. " They went to Odesta to buy 
millions of grain I So it is written in the papers." Every- 
body has heard about the Tzar's manifesto which had 
been suppressed by the Tchinovnicks and hidden from the 
people. Yet the people by this time know the truth. 
The people will have their way. No use deceiving them 
any longer. 

The peasants live in a state of exaltation. Every- 
thing points to the fulfilment of their heart's desire; 
everything is a good omen. There is the landlord's 
nephew who has just returned from Siberia, from political 
exile. He is the owner of a landed estate, which he in- 
tends to rent to the community at a nominal price. He 
does not feel like working the land himself and he does 
not look for a large income; he therefore wishes to re- 
turn part of the rent to the community, to be used for 
the building of a school, a public bath or some other 
public institution. The peasants have all the advantage, 
yet they refuse to conclude the contract. '' Why," the 
shrewd among them declare, ** those gentlemen only want 
to cheat you: they know very well that they will soon 
be compelled to give up their land entirely free of charge, 
therefore they are eager to get now as much as they 
can." The peasants believe it is a trap, and flatly refuse 
the transaction. 

Poverty (there are 47.3 horses to each 100 families 
in the county), famine (the hungry babies are being fed 
by the landlord's wife, which is a source of annoyance to 
her and to the peasants), diseases, ruthless administra- 


tion, peasants' envy for the landlord, coupled with all 
those dark rumors and expectations, necessarily end in 

The peasants cut wood in the landlord's forest. They 
attack and kill the landlord's manager, who has been 
very cruel. A crude home-made proclamation is attached 
to one of the trees, saying, *' This estate will be burned.'' 
A passer-by remarks to the landlord's kitchen help: 
'* Wait for guests, they will soon be here." The land- 
lord's house is full of fear. Something mysterious holds 
the family in its spell. Nothing serious has happened 
as yet, but everybody feels the dreadful " something " 
in the air. The nerves are tense. 

On a dark evening the catastrophe comes, — fire and 
murder and ruined lives. The ex-revolutionist, who 
wanted to " get square " with the people by renting them 
his land on the most favorable conditions, is killed as an 
enemy of the people. 

Just how the work of '* expropriation " is done, we 
can see from the proceedings of the court where 167 
peasants of the Dmitrievsk county, province of Oryol, 
were tried for looting and burning the estates of Nikola 
Tereshchenko, on February 22, 1905. The act of in- 
dictment reads in part: 

In the middle of February, 1905, there were disturb- 
ances and revolts among the peasants of Dmitrievsk and 
Syevsk counties, province of Oryol, and the adjoining 
Gluchov county, province of Tchernigov. The peasants 
of the village Salnoye had been committing violent acts 
against the landlord Popov for the preceeding two years : 
they had cut trees in his woods, feeding their cattle on his 
fields and lawlessly seizing parts of his land. On Feb- 
ruary loth, a proclamation was discovered in the village 
Salnoye bearing the headline : " Brother Peasants." The 
proclamation was attached to the pole of the draw-well. 
It contained an appeal to the peasants to rise as one man 
and overthrow the rule of the landlords and Tchinovnicks 


who live on the people's toil. The peasants gathered 
around the proclamation, which they read with visible 
pleasure, not allowing any one to tear it down. Opinions 
were expressed amongst the crowd that soon everything 
would belong to them, the fields, the meadows, the woods. 
According to one of the witnesses, the peasants were con- 
vinced the proclamation came from high authorities and 
therefore deserved to be trusted. Three days later, the 
peasants of that village openly robbed the grain of 
Tchernlchin's estate, two versts distant from the village. 

Similar acts of violence took place between February 
13th and 2 1 St in many other villages of the same three 
counties. In the night of February 22nd, Tereshchenko's 
estate, adjoining the village Khinel, was looted. Simul- 
taneously it became known that the Nikolski estate and 
the Michaylovski estate, belonging to the same Nikola 
Tereshchenko, were to be attacked in the near future. 
The manager of the sugar refinery in the Michaylovski 
estate, informed of the impending calamity, fled from the 
place on the morning of February 22nd, taking with him 
what cash there was and other valuables also. Many 
officers of the refinery, panic-stricken, followed his ex- 
ample. Nevertheless the work of the refinery, where 
600 workingmen were employed, was not discontinued. 

On the morning of February 22nd, the reeve of Khinel 
village ordered the peasants of his village, personally 
and through his assistants, to go to the Michaylovski 
estate, twenty versts from Khinel, and make a pogrom. 
His order, he said, was based on a " paper '' he had in 
his possession; those who disobeyed he threatened with 
punishment. The peasants equipped their wagons, 500 
in number, took their wives and children and went to the 
Michaylovski estate. The majority were intoxicated, 
having a store of whisky from the distillery they had 
looted on the preceding night on the Khinel estate. Pass- 
ing three villages on their way to Michaylovski they in- 
vited the peasants to join them, threatening to burn the 


villages on their way back in case of refusal. Many 
peasants joined. Further on towards Michaylovski they 
set fire to a barn by the wayside, and still further they 
burned three brick-drying sheds. About seven in the 
evening they approached Michaylovski. 

The first man to meet the invaders in the streets of 
Michaylovski was an employee of the sugar-refinery. 
Asked what they had come for, the peasants answered 
frankly: ** Don't you see? We have come to rob.'' Part 
of the wagons, numbering about 300, turned in to the 
Nikolski estate, where the peasants opened six large 
barns containing 16.000 pood of foodstuffs and began 
to carry away the grain, the flour, the cereals and the 
bran, while the other wagons continued their way to the 
sugar-works. The procession was headed by 200 wagons 
from Khinel, while a number of others, amounting to 
nearly 800, followed. The wagons proceeded three and 
four in a row, each wagon carrying two or three persons. 
The peasants were armed with axes, crowbars and clubs. 

To the first houses, belonging to the sugar-works, the 
peasants did little harm, breaking only a few windows. 
Further on they looted the house of the factory physician. 
The crowd was about to enter the house of one of the 
employees, Alfimov, but this man begged to be spared, 
since he was very poor. One of the crowd went into the 
house to ascertain whether the man spoke the truth, 
whereupon he shouted to his comrades, '* Brothers, don't 
touch this house ! " The house remained intact. The 
wagons proceeded. Later, a horn sounded, and the work 
of destruction began. 

The houses of the general manager and many other 
officers of the works were robbed and then set on fire. 
Some of the peasants broke into the storehouses, taking 
away the sugar, the flour and the cereals, and also a few 
horses; others approached the factory, breaking its locks 
and doors, smashing its windows, loading the wagons with 
sugar and other property that they could take hold of and 


finally setting the buildings on fire. Soon the offices, the 
storehouses, the factory building were all aflame. The 
fire spread to many other buildings. The crowd covered 
the whole estate, robbing and burning. In various places 
new fires were started by the marauders. The teacher's 
house was burned down. Many houses of employees 
were ruined. Part of the crowd found its way into a 
court-yard where barrels of sugar were heaped up on 
wooden floorings. The barrels were all taken away and 
the floorings set on fire. The crowd, however, did not 
touch the sugar stored at the railway station, having 
been assured that it belonged to the railroad and was to 
be sent to the army. Nor was the post- and telegraph- 
office damaged by the crowd, although the other half of 
the same building, occupied by a factory officer, was 
looted and its windows smashed. 

An hour after the beginning of the robbery, wagons 
laden with all sorts of goods were leaving the Michay- 
lovskl estate, while other wagons carrying peasants from 
the neighboring villages who had been attracted by the 
fire, were entering the factory premises. The newcomers 
also took part in the robbing and burning, the orgy con- 
tinuing till six in the morning. Besides owners of wagons, 
there were many peasants on foot carrying goods on their 
shoulders or rolling sugar-barrels along the tracks of the 
railroad. The damages amounted to over two millions 
of rubles. 

So far the indictment-act The court proceedings dis- 
closed many illuminating details. The ages of those in- 
dicted ranged from eighteen to seventy; of the 167 in the 
prisoners' dock hardly five knew how to read or write. 
Why it so happened that out of many thousand partici- 
pants in the tragic attack on Michaylovski estate only 
167 were picked out, remained a puzzle to the public as 
well as to the indicted. At any rate, they did not feel 
guilty. Previous to the attack on Michaylovski, while 
robbing another estate belonging to the same millionaire, 


Tereshchenko, one of the crowd, said : " As things are, the 
gentlemen make it hard for you and for us. Just let them 
move away, then the whole earth will belong to us; in 
the spring we will plow and then we will harvest the en- 
tire land." In Michaylovski, when asked why they were 
not only robbing but also burning, some peasants an- 
swered that they had no use for the sugar factory, not 
knowing how to run it; their main object, they said, was 
land. A peasant woman, asked where she came from and 
what she was doing, readily answered: *^ I am from 
Khinel, my friend. I have come to rob the gentlemen 
by order of our Little Father the Tzar, who has sent us 
a paper with a crown." 

In the course of the robbing the peasants maintained a 
friendly attitude towards outsiders. There were no 
assaults on persons. The hospital was left intact. When 
resistance was offered, the invaders did not try to enter 
private houses. There was something naive and childish 
in the behavior of those big, uncouth, intoxicated Mujiks. 
A woman was carrying a piece of furniture on a wagon. 
" For what do you need this arm-chair? " she was asked 
by the superintendent of the hospital. " Why," she an- 
swered, ** I want to use it. The gentlefolks have had 
it enough, now it's our turn to enjoy things." The 
woman told the superintendent she took the furniture 
from the house ** where the golden pitcher stood," evi- 
dently meaning a vase in the house of the general 

All this leads to one conclusion : that the peasants be- 
lieved they had a right to do what they were doing. 

As to the underlying causes, the proceedings of the 
court furnished sufficient evidence that poverty and the 
longing for land made the peasants susceptible to ideas 
of revolt and expropriation. A village priest, sincerely 
devoted to his flock, testified that the events in Michay- 
lovski were due to the ignorance of the peasants and 
their '* eternal dream of land." ** Since the abolition of 


serfdom," he said, ** there is a deeply rooted conviction 
among the peasants that the landlords' estates must be 
given back to the people. When the manifesto of August 
6th, promising the establishment of the Imperial Duma, 
had been read in the church, peasants came over to me 
asking me whether there was nothing in the manifesto 
about the increase of the shares of land/' 

The land of the peasants in those counties, besides 
being insufficient in quantity, was poor in quality. Various 
witnesses familiar with local affairs testified that the soil 
of the peasants was exhausted and getting worse every 
year, and that they could by no means exist on their 
agricultural work alone. Many peasants worked in the 
sugar factory, receiving from 6 to 7 rubles a month 
with food and lodging. Thousands of others were com- 
pelled to go to distant provinces in search for work. 
These were the most restless among the community. 
According to the testimony of a Dmitrievsk county 
Zemski Natchalnik the migratory peasants met all sorts 
of people and became infected with wrong ideas. On 
coming home, these peasants upset the minds of their 
neighbors. They were also responsible for the proclama- 
tions that made their appearance in the village streets. 

Of the 167 indicted, two were acquitted, three were 
sentenced to four years at hard labor, 145 to 1.5-3.5 
years in the penitentiary, 17 to 4-8 months' imprisonment. 

The court hall presented an unusual sight. *' I was 
watching the faces of those criminals," a press-corre- 
spondent says. " There were old men among them, with 
gray hair and beards. There were youngsters without a 
trace of mustache, mere boys. The faces wore an ex- 
pression either of blunt submission to circumstances,^ or 
of hidden worry that had nothing to do with the trial; 
sometimes they were illuminated by innocent baby-smiles. 
Owing to the large number of the Indicted, they were 
seated very symmetrically and they looked much more 
like peasant representatives at a solemn sitting of a con- 


vention than like candidates for the prisoner*s jacket. 
In the first row, the tragic figure of Klutchnikov, the 
Khinel reeve, attracted attention, a man of 30-32 years, 
with regular features, a stern face, dark-blond hair 
parted in the middle. He sat in the pose of a man 
who has been crushed by something unexpected and in- 
comprehensible. His feet pressed heavily against the 
floor, his hands rested on his knees, his head was bent 
and his eyes gazed steadily at one point. He was 
motionless, silent, gloomy, and you saw in a sort of vision 
that this was not only an individual man, Klutchnikov, 
the serious-minded strong peasant, but the entire Russian 
people at the crossing of the roads. What was going on 
in this low-bent head? What thoughts were being born 
in this brain to the accompaniment of the soldiers' sabers? 
Klutchnikov was charged with having used his authority 
to induce his fellow-peasants to take part in a pogrom. 
Yet, even the chiefs of police and the employees of the 
sugar works characterized him as a quiet, efiicient and 
clever peasant whom nobody expected to do any harm. 

** * I do not accuse myself of anything,' was the only 
phrase he uttered during the proceedings. The rest of 
the time he was silent, remaining a mystery to all." * 

Wasn't the entire Russian nation a great mystery to 
herself in those restless days? 

* Court Dramas, December, 1905, pp. 342-43. 



Compared with the average peasant, the average work- 
ingman in the large industrial center gives the impression 
of a modern civilized man with modern ideas. True, his 
standard of living is low, yet his horizon is infinitely 
broader than that of a Mujik. True, he is crude and 
primitive and his education is very incomplete, yet he is 
perfectly justified in his contempt for the blunt '' son of the 
earth." The more gifted among the workingmen succeed 
in becoming men of culture and of high intellectual 

Still, the bulk of the city workingmen are emigrants 
from the village. Most of them have come to the city 
not at a tender age, but as grown-up young men driven to 
hunt for money. How does it happen that an uncouth 
Mujik forgets his *' mother-earth " and becomes imbued 
with urban ideas? What are the forces that turn a mem- 
ber of the ** people " into a ** gentleman '* and a fighter 
for freedom? 

One phase of this process is shown in the history of 
the making of a workingman by N. Petropavlovski-Karo- 
nin.* It is the merit of Karonin to have given a picture 
very true to life, though contradictory to his own Narod- 
niki conceptions. 

Michaylo, the hero of the story, differs little from all 
the village boys on the great plains of Russia. His native 
village is a ** hole,'' without light or air. His parents are 
poor. In childhood and boyhood he never has the sensa- 

*N. Petropavlovski-Karonin (-|- 1892) was one of the well-known 
Narodniki who naainly devoted their talents to peasant life studies. 
The story referred to is called Climbing Up and forms part of the 
second volume of his complete works (Moscow, 1891). 



tion of eating his fill. His father is a weakling, repeatedly 
flogged. His mother is querulous and bitter. The authori- 
ties are cruel. The local " rich man " is the uncrowned 
king of the village. Michaylo receives no education at 
all. His teachers are the steppe, the woods, the pool, 
the cow, the horse. From his early youth he has grown 
to hate the patience and the submissiveness of the peas- 
ants. Yet he himself is powerless against bad circum- 
stances, though he works sedulously and with the utmost 
strain on his father's land. 

He is a youth of twenty-two when he leaves the village. 
He simply sees no reason for staying there any longer. 
He looks at his family, and it seems to him that they are 
all dead. ** Let the dead bury their dead,'' he decides, 
and goes away. 

At this time Michaylo Lunin resembles a wild animal, 
alert, hungry, suspicious, ready to sneer at anybody and 
to snap at his opponent's throat. He is exceedingly self- 
centered. He cares for nothing but his own well-being. 
And he is greedy. 

He wants money, much money, lots of it. He will 
build a large house for himself. He will buy clothes, he 
will have a regular brown overcoat and his wife will wear 
a green dress. These are his dreams when he paces 
the road with not a penny in his pocket and with no boots 
on his feet. He has no friends or relatives in the city, he 
knows no trade or handicraft, and he has no definite aim. 
But his appetite is strong, the insatiable appetite of a 

His experiences in town are disheartening. He hap- 
pens to come across a band of laborers tearing down a 
house. Their wages are fifteen copecks a day. He joins 
the band, hating the laborers and the work. He has 
never dreamed he would be compelled to live as part of 
a mob. *' He had come in town for his own sake," the 
author says; '* he wanted to mind his own business; he 
wished to know only himself. The other people were 

" CLIMBING UP " 275 

utterly indifferent to him. Of course, he had wished to 
use them as a means of getting rich, but he had never 
wanted to become a member of a band. He had an idea 
his comrades were in his way.** 

Necessity teaches him to endure team-work. This is 
the first of many lessons city life gives him in the process 
of " breaking '* the savage Mujik. At this time he is 
still a drop in the ocean. He is one among numbers of 
peasant hosts invading the city every winter like so many 
swarms of locusts. They are hungry, the poor stepsons 
of the earth; they are starving; they are ready to do any 
kind of work for any pay. Outwardly, Michaylo differs 
in no respect from those barefooted tramps; inwardly, he 
is ambitious, individualistic, full of contempt for the 
'* fools,** the name which he applies to all who have not 
succeeded in life. 

Thousands remain forever in this stage of day-laborers, 
thanking God for the little they manage to earn. 
Michaylo cannot stand it. He is too restless. Soon he 
iquits the place to join a gang of carpenters, from whom 
he hopes to learn their work. The gang pays him nothing 
but his grub. With them he stays only a month. *' Every- 
thing in the new company arouses his indignation. First, 
the ceremonial of the carpenters makes him laugh. No- 
body ever does what the others do not do, and vice versa : 
whatever the gang starts to do, the individual is supposed 
join in. In the morning the ringleader begins to wash, 
and all the others simultaneously follow. If one car- 
penter takes his ax to begin work, all the others do 
the same thing.** What Michaylo hates most is to see 
that his comrades think their work the sole task of their 
lives, devoting to it their energy and all their attention. 
Michaylo is greedy. He is still a peasant. He sees no 
sense in hewing day after day, year after year. 

He happens to meet a fellow-countryman who has 
grown rather prosperous through illicit transactions. He 
becomes involved in a fraud without knowing exactly what 


he is about. Our Michaylo awaits trial. He spends sev- 
eral months in jail, but his innocence is proven and he is 

All this leaves deep marks on Michaylo's soul. When 
he comes out of prison he discovers that he has nothing, 
within or without. He is bankrupt. 

Now he finds employment in a brick-yard. The work 
is primitive and the life is utterly monotonous. '* He 
could not remember any event,'' the author says, '* which 
would distinguish one day from another. Michaylo did 
the same thing as did the others. Imperceptibly he was 
sinking ever deeper. He had no thought of his own. He 
thought only as much as was necessary to distinguish 
between brick and wood.*' He loses the sensation of life, 
of existence. When something begins to stir in him, he 
sleeps it off. 

His indolence, however, does not last. A rebeUious 
feeling again surges in Michaylo. This time it is not 
mere greed or bitterness that compels him to quit. He 
cannot any longer endure the servility and submissiveness 
of his comrades. He determines to go and ask advice 
from a man well known and highly estimated among the 
working population of the city. This man, a locksmith 
by trade, is the type of a modern skilled workingman, 
making a scant, yet tolerable, living and finding time 
to read books and papers and to be Interested in social 

Our ex-Mujik comes to his house, and from this 
moment begins the rise of Michaylo Lunin. 

Fomich, the locksmith, at the first glance guesses the 
tremendous mental powers and the unusual sense of jus- 
tice in the little wild fellow. Michaylo, perturbed and 
harassed by his city experiences, looks very much like a 
human porcupine: he cannot speak without a sneer; when 
he gets excited he scoffs at everybody; he is full of mis- 
trust; he still thinks himself far superior to all his com- 
rades, but somehow it does not give him satisfaction. He 

" CLIMBING UP '* 277 

is disconcerted. Sometimes he is aggressive out of sheer 

Fomich makes him his apprentice. He gives him lodg- 
ing and board in his little house and teaches him lock- 
smith's work. 

There is nothing extraordinary in the house of 
Fomich, as compared with the houses of any American 
or English workingman receiving moderate wages. Yet 
for the son of the village who had been a day laborer 
in the city it is a revelation. For the first time in his life 
the idea of his inferiority dawns upon Michaylo. He 
realizes now that he has to learn to be a man. In the 
company of the carpenters or brickmakers he has fed 
his soul on contempt for the '' fools." In Fomich's com- 
pany he is a fool himself. He does not know the most 
elementary things. He has to learn how to drink tea in 
a decent circle around a neatly set table. He has to learn 
how to use clean sheets and blankets in a regular bed, 
such as he has never enjoyed in his life. He has to acquire 
manners totally different from his former crude ways. 
But, most of all, he has to work on his character and 
his soul. 

He is not afraid of any work. Now that his life has 
taken a new turn, showing him an example worthy of imi- 
tation, he sets to work with a fury. His arrogance is 
gone. He feels small. At first he is deeply embarrassed. 
But the friendliness of Fomich and his wife soon makes 
him feel at ease. 

Michaylo learns his work in daytime, and in the evening 
he learns to read and write. This is not easy for a Mujik 
In his twenties, yet he has patience and peasant greediness, 
and he is ambitious. 

His new life and his conversations with Fomich tend to 
abate his old-time individualism. Fomich Is not a socialist 
or a revolutionist, but he has sound views on the life of 
the workingman. *' The main trouble is,'' he says, ** that 
our fellow-worklngmen lack an idea, a general thought 


which would show them what to do, where to go, how to 
live. You cannot expect a poor man to be a scholar, but 
he ought to live his own way; he ought to know how to hit 
the right nail on the head to improve his miserable life. 
He must not rely on somebody else's brains, or heUl be 
a plaything, a puppet in the other's hands." These ideas 
admirably correspond to Michaylo's inborn sense of inde- 
pendence. Fomich teaches him, not by talk, but by 
example, how to understand people, how to find the good 
kernel underneath an ungainly appearance. 

Two or three years pass. Michaylo is changed. There 
is something more human about him. He has become 
quiet. His temper is more even. He has read many 
books, he has become a citizen of his country and, per- 
haps, of the world; yet he is now more unassuming. He 
knows that he knows very little, and he appreciates the 
poor and the ignorant more justly. He meets his old 
friend, Pasha, a girl whom he was attached to when living 
in the village. The girl has not changed. She is the 
same primitive peasant girl that she was before. Yet 
Michaylo decides to marry her, and he makes her life 
easy, comfortable and warm with real sympathy. 

Michaylo is now assistant machinist in a factory. His 
salary is not large, but sufficient for a moderate way of 
living. He does not crave for more. On the contrary, 
he has to argue with his young wife, who exhibits a re- 
markable peasant greediness for wealth. Pasha is almost 
disappointed in her husband. She has thought him a real 
gentleman, which, in her conception, means rich, while 
their household is far from prosperous. Michaylo has 
to explain to her that wealth and happiness are not the 
same thing; that honest labor is morally superior to other 
ways of acquisition. What a change, in comparison with 
his former views! 

Michaylo has reached the top of a hill. He can be 
proud of the man he has made of himself. He has a 
broad view of life. He is quite independent, so far as 

" CLIMBING UP '' 279 

this can be said of a wage-earner. He has a loving wife- 
companion. He ought to be happy. Yet he is gloomy. 

*' What is consuming you? '' his friend Fomich asks. 

*^ I do not know. Something is wrong. There is a void 
in my life.'' 

Michaylo is a silent fellow who never talks of himself. 
If he now opens out before Fomich, it means that he is 
in great distress. 

** What ails you? *' Fomich inquires. " You have now 
what millions of people lack: mental development and 

Michaylo gazes at his good-natured friend with keen 
eyes, and there is great pain in his face as he asks: 

"And what now? " 

Fomich does not understand him. It is the call for a 
great aim beyond personal happiness that stirs in 
Michaylo. His restless nature cannot be satisfied with 
the quiet life in the quiet family harbor which he has 
constructed for himself. He has seen too much misery. 
Life is too ugly to allow a man to be satisfied. 

For weeks Michaylo has labored under severe mental 
strain. " Coming home from the factory," the author 
says, *' he would pace the room from corner to corner, dull 
and absent. Pasha would not interfere, she would not 
ask questions, but she could not understand what he was 
thinking about. His distress was of no definite character, 
very much like the feeling of depression a man experi- 
ences on a gloomy day when the sky is overcast and 
something weighs heavily on his brain. He worked regu- 
larly in his factory, he was even-tempered and calm 
with his f ellow-workingmen ; he seemed satisfied, yet there 
were days when he was beyond himself. At times a 
strong current of energy swept him and he felt he had 
to hurry and do something; but soon the moment passed, 
and again he was in the grip of his uneasiness, dissatisfied 
and downhearted, as if he had been deceived by somebody 
he did not know. Finally, gloom became his steady com- 


panion, though his face remained calm and composed. 
What was the matter with him?" 

On a beautiful summer holiday, walking with his friend 
Fomich on a hill crest, he gives vent to his pain. The 
two have been admiring the broad landscape, when 
Michaylo suddenly remarks: 

** They are all down below, on the very bottom." 

Fomich does not understand. 

'* Whom do you mean? " 

** All. They are all down below, where it is dark and 
cold, while I am free. God, how boresome ! It is dark 
and cold down there, and though I am in the light, I feel 
cold, too. And I am bored to death ! Is it possible that 
all Intelligent people feel the same as I ? What a horror, 
Fomich! Here I am, on top of a rock bathed in sun- 
shine, and down there is an abyss, deep, bottomless. 
. . . From the abyss a clamor of voices is heard. I 
cannot make out the words, I do not see the human beings, 
for they are on the very bottom and the abyss is deep and 
covered with a veil of mist. But I hear voices, sometimes 
bitter groaning, sometimes rude laughter. I often think: 
how is it possible to live down there in the depths ? How 
did it happen that I reached the top? At times I am 
proud I am here ; I am happy to have fled from the depths. 
But then I am ashamed, I am disturbed, I am angry. 
. . . Why is it that I alone stay here, while the others 
do not follow my example? Let the sun pour its light 
over me, let my eyes behold the boundless vistas, let the 
clean air fill my bosom, I cannot be satisfied as long as I 
cannot share it with those in the abyss. . . . Only that 
is dear to use which we can share according to our wishes. 
If we cannot share our bread, it becomes stale in our 
mouth; if we cannot share our thoughts with others, they 
are bound to poison us, to kill us! " 

The author does not disclose the further development 
of Michaylo Lunin. The story ends with the scene on 
the hill crest. Yet it is easy to see that for Michaylo 

" CLIMBING UP " 281 

there is only one way out of his depression. Michaylo 
as an individual may land in an insane asylum or commit 
suicide. Michaylo as a collective type furnished the 
human material for the first rank of the revolutionary 
army. The collective Michaylo was the first organizer 
of labor unions and the first political agitator among the 
mass of the urban working population. 


** It is like a house on fire. One flame joins another 
flame, and all rise high. It bursts through here, it sparkles 
there, ever brighter, ever stronger." 

Thus an old working-woman in Gorki's Mother de- 
scribes the movement among her class on the eve of 1905. 
The woman herself is of peasant birth, but the industrial 
suburb, the scene of the first part of Gorki's story, is 
diametrically opposed to village life or peasant ideas. 
The inhabitants of the suburb are industrial workingmen 
in the second or third generation. The admixture of 
newcomers who have worked on the soil themselves is 
comparatively small. The yearning of the peasant for 
independence as an economic unit is foreign to the in- 
habitants of the suburb. None of them ever hopes to 
become a ** boss " himself. None of them sees a way of 
gaining prosperity at one leap, as does the peasant in his 
dream of land. The inhabitants of the suburb are, there- 
fore, gloomier, sterner and more dissatisfied than even 
the rural population. On the other hand, the people of 
the suburb have more culture; the younger generation 
nearly all know how to read and write. 

They look pitifully small and accidental — those begin- 
nings of a revolutionary propaganda in the suburb. A 
few young men, mere boys, come secretly together to read 
leaflets or books. What are the subjects of their studies? 
Gorki does not say, but usually it is the history of civiliza- 
tion, the history of the labor-movement, the elements of 
political economy and a description of the political parties 
in western Europe. The studies are conducted under the 
leadership of an ** intellectual '' tutor, usually a student 


The Workingman Who Reads Indulges in a Dangerous Occupation 


or a professional man. In the majority of cases the 
tutor is not a speciaHst in social problems. The instruc- 
tion cannot be conducted regularly, owing to the vigilance 
of the police. The pupils, therefore, can get very little 
positive knowledge out of those secret readings. To the 
outsider the whole affair looks very harmless. 

** Are those your * secret ' people?'' the mother asks 
one of the boys. The mother cannot see how these clean, 
innocent youths and this young, slender girl who has come 
from the city to read to them about how people lived in 
former generations can be dangerous to anybody. Yet 
those weekly readings are of momentous consequence for 
the suburb. 

The little circle is originally confined to its own educa- 
tion. Knowledge to them, however, is not an aim in itself. 
*' We must kindle ourselves with the flame of reason, so 
that those in the dark may see us," one of the men says. 
" We ought to answer every question honestly and truth- 
fully. We ought to know what is truth, what is false- 

Knowledge to these people is a weapon for the battle 
they are preparing to wage. The ** truth " is what they 
intend to preach among their comrades. They wish to 
improve their lives, yet material well-being alone is not 
the end of their strivings. '* It is not only the stomach 
that we wish to fill," one of the boys says. **No! we 
wish to be men! We must show those who are riding on 
our necks that we see everything. We are not beasts 
looking for food only. We wish to live as befits human 
beings. We must show our enemies that the miserable 
life they compel us to lead cannot prevent us from becom- 
ing equal to them in intellect, and in spirit superior to 


These young boys feel themselves the vanguard of a 
vast army, to which it is for them to show the right way. 
Hence their exaltation, hence the great importance they 
attach to their gatherings and their conversations. Some- 


times a wave of irresistible joy sweeps the circle. Their 
eyes sparkle, their laughter is full of happiness, their 
speech is merry. This occurs when they read in the papers 
of a new victory of the working class abroad. ** Splendid 
fellows, those Germans ! '' they shout. " Long live our 
comrades, the workingmen of Italy." They have not yet 
begun to fight themselves, but they feel related to all the 
laboring masses of the world. ** In the little room," the 
author says, ** a tremendous, boundless feeling is born, a 
feeling of spiritual kinship with all workers, the masters 
and the slaves of the world, whose reason already has 
freed them from the bondage of superstition and who 
have begun to look upon themselves as the sovereigns 
of the earth." 

The circle increases In membership. It Is perhaps not 
only the wish to improve the life of the masses that draws 
Individuals " from the dark " into the dangerous light of 
the revolutionary circle. Perhaps It Is a desire to be 
'* something," to feel one's own personality, to know that 
one Is not merely a " number " in the factory and a zero 
in social life, but also a man of capacity and distinction. 
Perhaps the danger of membership in a revolutionary 
organization makes it especially attractive to persons 
with a lively imagination. But all those circles and the 
organization in general are able to assert themselves 
and gain self-respect only through work among the 

Soon the streets of the suburb are strewn with 
** papers " written with blue Ink (hectographically repro- 
duced proclamations). The ** papers " venomously criti- 
cize the system In the factory, they tell about labor strikes 
In Petersburg and Southern Russia, they call the working- 
men to unite in defense of their interests. The *' papers " 
are read and commented upon. The older folks are 
morose, the younger are delighted, the majority have no 
confidence In the strength of the workingmen, yet they 
know the *' papers " are well meant; the papers speak 


about the sufferings of the working people: thev are 
telling *' the truth/* ^ t^ f , y 

A bond of sympathy is established between the secret 
organization and the bulk of the toilers. The ** papers '' 
appear regularly; they have become necessary to the 
population. When they fail to appear for a whole week, 
people are uneasy. None of the '' rank and file '' knows 
the address or the members of the organization, yet its 
influence grows. 

Thus a double task is being performed by the revolu- 
tionary circle: it forges personalities out of the crude 
metal of working humanity, and it sows the seeds of 
unrest among the masses. 

The police is on its guard. Repressive measures are 
not delayed. Many houses are searched. A number of 
workingmen are put into jail. But this cannot stop the 
movement. No arrests can entirely uproot the organiza- 
tion, and should that happen by some unhappy concur- 
rence of circumstances, a new organization would soon 
be founded. 

The searching of the houses is the first incident where 
our converts come in close contact with the enemy. They 
look upon the officers not as representatives of a govern- 
ment, but as '* tools of the forces of darkness.'* Our 
young workingmen, whose fathers used to bend low be- 
fore every uniformed Tchlnovnick, manifest a remarkable 
degree of independence and boldness. They treat the 
officers as inferior beings. They insist on their human 
rights, denied them by the laws of their country. 

It is of the spirit of the time that all these events, hope- 
less as they may look to the skeptic, increase the unrest 
and serve the cause of the revolution. A workingman's 
neighbor is arrested. He has been a sober, honest and 
genial young man, incapable of wrong. Yet he is in prison. 
Why? The imagination is stirred. People begin to talk. 
Young Pavel Vlasov has spoken to the gendarmerie officer 
as to an equal. Young Pavel Vlasov is only an ordinary 


workingman well known in the suburb. Where did he 
get his *' nerve "? People discuss the absorbing news in 
the shop, at the bar, on the benches in front of their 
cabins. A proclamation commenting on the arrests is 
read with avidity. The action temporarily eliminating a 
number of revolutionary agitators becomes in itself a 
source of lively agitation. Thus nothing is lost in the life 
of a fighter for freedom. 

They all know that sooner or later they will have to pay 
their toll of prison months or years, but this is part of 
their program. The average duration of a revolutionist's 
activities between one arrest and another is perhaps only 
half a year. The more reason they have to expound their 
energies in those brief intervals. 

The unrest in the suburb is growing. There is already 
a periodical paper published in the city, where all the news 
from the various factories is given a prominent place. 
People become accustomed to looking upon the paper as 
expressing their own needs. Soon an occasion presents 
itself for the leader of the revolutionary circle to step 
forth and openly defend the interests of his comrades. 
The factory administration has decided to deduct one 
per cent, from the workingmen's wages to form a fund 
to be used for the draining of the nearby swamp. The 
administration claims that the draining of the swamp, 
being advantageous for the workmen's health, has to be 
paid for out of their wages. The workmen are enraged. 
They know well that the swamp is only a pretext for cut- 
ting their earnings. A crowd gathers on the factory 
grounds. Pavel Vlasov is the leader. Pavel Vlasov speaks 
to the general manager in the name of the crowd. He 
makes his first public address. Pavel Vlasov, the stern 
revolutionist, is recognized as representative of his fellow- 
workers. The workers go on strike. 

Old Sizov, one of the crowd, voices the general senti- 
ment when he says: 

*' It's time for us old folks to rest in the cemetery. A 


new generation Is coming. What was our life? On our 
knees we crawled, low to the ground we bowed. Now 
look at the youngsters ! I can say only this : either they Ve 
come to their senses or they are making still worse blun- 
ders. Look at the youngsters talking to the manager as 
to their equal! " 

Pavel goes to prison. Everybody in the suburb knows 
he has been locked up for defending the cause of the 
people. This fact has a greater influence on the average 
mind than the hottest revolutionary oration. 

*' Don't you be out of heart," an ignorant woman says 
to Pavel's mother. *' There's nothing wrong about it. 
In former years people went to jail for stealing; now they 
take them for telling the truth. Your Pavel may have 
said one thing or the other in an improper way, but he 
stood up for all, and people know who's good." 

Events take their natural course. Pavel is in prison, 
but the propaganda is conducted on an ever broader 
scale. Pavel himself does not waste his time behind the 
iron bars : he studies diligently and makes his fellow-pris- 
oners read and think. Thus they use the involuntary 
intermission in their activities to equip themselves with 
more ammunition for the coming battles. In fact, the 
prison has become a vital part of the revolutionary or- 
ganization. There is a steady current of people moving 
from the suburb to the prison, from the prison back to 
the suburb, or to another industrial center where the face 
of a certain individual revolutionist is not yet known to 
the detectives. The revolutionary party is the connecting 
link between the local circles, working out slogans, out- 
lining general tactics, providing the circles with literature 
and regulating the exchange of revolutionary agents be- 
tween one town and another. 

The machinery is hard at work, yet it must be noted — 
and this is the most remarkable sign of the times — that 
the revolutionary efect is incomparably larger than the 
revolutionary activity. Pavel's circle has no means of 


reaching every one in the suburb. It has no great orators, 
it can call no public mettings, it has to do its work in the 
dark, against the constant vigilance of secret-service men; 
it is comparatively slight in numbers. Still, the revolu- 
tionary spirit creeps from house to house, from indi- 
vidual to individual. People are proud to become at least 
sympathizers of those daring revolutionists; sometimes 
men are not even conscious of the fact that they have 
become imbued with the new spirit, as is, for instance, the 
case with an old, ordinary workingman who is anxious 
to know whether his son ** behaves " in prison, whether 
he does not squeal. 

Little by little the suburb undergoes a remarkable 
change. It grows to look upon itself as a separate world, 
hostile to the government and to the existing order. Its 
conceptions are still primitive, its understanding of events 
quite obscure, yet the revolutionary slogans of unity, of 
** one for all, all for one,'' of struggle against exploitation 
and its sponsor, the government, and of brotherhood of 
all the workers the world over, have sunk deep into their 
souls. They have learned to know that they ** have 
nothing to lose but their chains," and that " in their 
strength is their only salvation." 

There is the spirit of religious ardor and religious devo- 
tion in the movement of the suburb. Men do not fight 
only for one per cent, of their wages. Men do not fight 
only for the freedom of organizing a trade-union. Men 
do not even fight for a representative government. Men, 
young and old, have become obsessed by a holy spirit of 
self-sacrifice for some great radiant God whose name 
they do not know, whose breath, however, they feel in 
their throbbing hearts. Men are groping toward a vast 
luminous life of beauty, of truth and of good which they 
cannot even picture in their minds. ** Freedom " is more 
than removal of police restrictions, it is the upward striv- 
ing of human souls. 

The first of May comes. On this day the revolutionary 


workingmen, for the first time in the history of their town, 
will raise the red flag in the street, openly and freely, in 
the face of all the forces of evil. Pavel, now out of 
prison, decides to carry the flag himself, in the first rank 
of the first revolutionary procession. His comrades, 
aware of the peril he is exposing himself to, implore him 
to stay away. He is needed, they urge, for the most vital 
work of the organization; they cannot afford to sacrifice 
him in this manner. Yet Pavel is implacable. It is not 
only his duty, it is his great joy. *' I am not doing it for 
the comrades,'* he says, '' / am doing it for myself,'* 
This moment of sublime happiness is the reward for all 
his work. 

The moment arrives. Pavel is in the liveliest part of 
the suburb, in front of the church. He is surrounded by 
a dense crowd of his comrades. Large throngs of people 
have gathered in the place, some curious to see the unusual 
sight, some sympathetic. PavePs voice rings. ** Brothers," 
he says, *' the time has come for us to forswear this life 
that is full of greed, rancor and darkness, this life where 
people are violated, where there is no place for us, where 
we are not considered as human beings." 

He stops, the people are silent, the crowd closes more 
densely around him. His eyes are proud, daring, 

" Comrades ! We have decided to declare openly who 
we are. We raise our banner to-day, the banner of rea- 
son, truth and freedom." 

And there is the shiver of religious ecstacy in the crowd, 
there is the touch of divine fingers on the strings of every 
heart when the white, slender flagpole flashes in the air 
and the red, magnificent banner unfurls over the heads of 
the workingmen. 

" Long live the working people ! Long live the Social- 
Democratic Labor Party ! Long live the working people 
of all the world ! " the demonstrators shout. 

No ! this is not a mere political demonstration. Andrey, 


Pavel's friend, is right when he speaks to the crowd in a 
singing, beautiful tone : '^ Comrades, we are now in a holy 
procession in the name of a new God, the God of light 
and truth, the God of reason and good. Our road is long 
and hard, our goal is far away, the crown of thorns is 
near. Whoever does not believe in the power of truth, 
whoever is not brave enough to stand up for it even unto 
death, whoever does not believe in himself through fear 
of suffering, let him stay away. We call upon those who 
believe in our triumph. Forward, comrades, close your 
lines ! Long live the holiday of free men! '* 

Eyes blaze, lips quiver in deep emotion, breasts heave. 
The crowd has become one person, with one radiant soul. 
The police will soon arrive. The marchers will be met 
by detachments of soldiers in order of battle. Drums 
will sound. Bayonets will be pointed at the breasts of 
the ranks. They will not hesitate. Louder and louder 
will sound the hymn of freedom. Deeper and deeper will 
sink into each heart the gospel of Truth and Love. 

There is a skirmish. Pavel and many others are seized. 
The crowd is dispersed. The banner is torn to pieces. 
Brutal force is triumphant once more. But the suburb 
does not think itself defeated. The suburb has had a 
lesson. The factory-workers who in the morning had 
refused to go on strike, now quit work to join the '* holi- 
day of free men.'' The majority of them may not be able 
to explain the significance of a May-day demonstration, 
yet they join the more enlightened as If driven by some 

Once more Pavel Vlasov is in prison. This time they 
are going to try him in court. He knows he will be sent 
to Siberia for life; but he knows also, and his comrades 
know, that he will escape from there to join his organiza- 
tion, to fall again and again into the hands of the enemies 
and escape at the first opportunity. His comrades sug- 
gest that he flee from prison (this can be arranged), but 
Pavel wishes to face trial, he wishes to speak the truth in 


the court-house, ** to judge his judges/' to give a clear 
presentation of his views and aspirations. A speech of 
this kind can have a tremendous influence on the minds 
of the workingmen, and Pavel is not a man to miss the 

He makes his speech, and the secret press carries it all 
over the country. The trial does not fail to serve the 
cause of the revolution. 

Everything serves the cause of the revolution. A labor 
strike has been suppressed by the authorities: it sets 
people thinking. A revolutionist has died and the police 
cut off the red ribbons his comrades have attached to the 
wreath of flowers : it only shows the meanness of a gov- 
ernment which wreaks vengeance even on the dead. A 
collision between revolutionists and policemen has oc- 
curred at the funeral of the comrade : it only adds to the 

The inhabitants of the suburb, who in former years 
were dull, gloomy slaves, lazy in mind, patient in work, 
irritable without reason, morose with their families and 
brutally drunk on holidays, now breathe a new life. They 
have found a way out of their misery. They have discov- 
ered the source of all their suffering. They are a warring 
camp in the struggle against a cunning foe. 

Ever broader the waves of emotion spread. The sub- 
urb now extends its net over the village, supplying Mujiks 
with agitators and leaflets. *' The silent patience of the 
people disappeared," the author says; ''a tense expecta- 
tion took its place. The irritation grew perceptibly, harsh 
words were uttered, something new, something stimulat- 
ing was in the air." 

And who started all this vast commotion? A small 
circle of workingmen assembling every Saturday to listen 
to the readings of a young, slender girl belonging to the 
intellectual classes. ... 

Such were the tokens of the new times. 


The mother-heroine, Pelagia Vlasov, the central fig- 
ure of Gorki's Mother, though quite plausible, was not 
a typical case in the Russian revolution. As to the other 
revolutionary characters in this story, they are taken from 
actual life and are well known to any one who came in 
touch with the revolutionary movement. 

Pavel Vlasov is the typical conspirator. His entire life 
is one straight line of duty. He is able to compromise 
neither in private nor in public matters. When a lad 
of sixteen or seventeen he informed his mother of his 
revolutionary intentions. '* I am reading forbidden 
books," he said. " They are forbidden because they tell 
the truth about the life of the workingmen. They are 
being secretly printed, and if caught with them, I shall 
have to go to prison.'* Pavel Vlasov knows that his 
mother will suffer, but he deems it his duty to speak 
frankly. She must face the facts, the sooner the better. 
** I wish to know the truth,'' he says to her, and once the 
truth is found he becomes its faithful knight for life. 

In his early youth he hated all human beings. Prior 
to becoming familiar with revolutionary ideas he fre- 
quently had spells of grave melancholy. In his factory 
he worked steadily and accurately, but in his free hours 
he was downcast and gloomy. " It's intolerable; they are 
all like so many machines," he used to say to his mother, 
and his steady, blue eyes had a haunted look. From the 
moment he became converted to the gospel of revolution, 
his attitude towards people changed. He pities instead 
of hating them. They are to him like foolish children 
groping in the dark while broad, white-lit vistas are open 



before them. He no longer despises his fellow human 
beings, but there is in him a subconscious feeling of his 
own superiority. He is the chosen one. He is the priest 
of the Holy Truth. A certain aloofness marks his atti- 
tude towards the rest of humanity. 

He is cool. He never smiles. He never reads poetry. 
On the wall of his room there is a picture of Christ and 
among his books there is the Bible, both symbols of self- 
sacrifice in the name of a great Truth. Pavel knows 
he is destined to carry a heavy cross up a steep moun- 
tain. Christ will be his shining example. 

He looks older than his age. He is very judicious. 
People come to him to ask his advice, and he listens 
calmly, his mind alert, his attention noticing every detail. 
When he speaks, his judgment is ripe, his suggestions 
are well founded, and he always finds a way to link the 
particular with the general, to illumine the case with the 
light of a broad conception. 

Pavel Vlasov is a believer in Reason. Let the people 
understand! — is his slogan. His way of influencing 
human beings is the way of conviction. His speech is 
clear and reserved, his sentences short, his voice seldom 
aglow with emotion. *' You speak well," a friend tells 
him after his first public speech, " but you do not appeal 
to the heart. One ought to throw the spark deep into 
human hearts. Reason alone won't do." Pavel is sorry 
he cannot show people the truth in all her radiant colors 
as he sees her himself, but he has no other way than that 
of reason. 

Pavel is an ascetic. He finds no pleasure in ordinary 
distractions. His thoughts and dreams and ambitions are 
all centered in the revolutionary work. From his mother 
he demands a suppression of all her motherly grief and 
sorrow. When he informs her of his decision to carry 
the flag on the May-day demonstration, he Is cool and 
very austere. His mother does not object, but he feels 
she is deeply wounded, and this he fails to understand. 


*^ You must not grieve," he says, " you must be happy. 
The time will come when mothers will joyfully send their 
sons to death." He himself finds it only natural when 
his mother begins to help the revolutionary movement. 
He does not think of the dangers she is exposed to. 
Everybody must serve the people's cause. Prison and 
exile are only part of the service. 

Pavel Vlasov loves a girl, a member of the revolu- 
tionary organization, yet he never speaks to her of his 
emotions and he suppresses his love as something to be 
ashamed of. The girl loves him, too, but they do not 
marry. " Family life diminishes the energy of the revo- 
lutionist," a comrade explains to Vlasov's mother. 
" Family life means children, greater needs, lots of work 
to make a living, while the revolutionist ought to develop 
his energy ever deeper and broader. This requires time. 
We workingmen ought to be always in the first ranks, 
ahead of all, because we are destined to destroy the old 
world and to create a new life. If we lag behind, over- 
come by fatigue or distracted by the possibility of a trifling 
conquest, we are doing wrong, we are almost traitors." 
Pavel Vlasov is not a man to be blamed for lagging be- 
hind and becoming almost a traitor. 

Pavel Vlasov is merciless to himself and to others. 
He hates cowards. He hates self-deception. He wants 
every member of his organization to face danger squarely 
and unflinchingly. He wants his comrades to expect the 
worst. *^ You may be shot if the authorities find you out," 
he calmly says to a young man who intends to conduct 
revolutionary propaganda among the soldiers. By no 
means does he wish to make the task of a revolutionist 
appear more agreeable, more cheerful. 

Pavel Vlasov is a man of iron. He is born to be a 
leader. Consciously and deliberately he extinguishes 
many a light in his soul lest it illuminate regions foreign 
to his task. By sheer will-power he compresses himself 
ever more till he resembles a strong steel-spring, ready 


to expand with tremendous power. His energy is of the 
kind that is compelling. People must follow Vlasov be- 
cause he is a master. 

Deep under the cover of sternness and restraint there 
Is in Vlasov a lucid source of tenderness and affection for 
his mother, his beloved, his friends ; these feelings, how- 
ever, express themselves only in a casual glance, in a 
softer timbre of the voice, in a caressing word. Pavel 
Vlasov is afraid to be affectionate. It seems as if his 
life-mate, the revolution, were jealous of every grain of 
energy devoted to others. 

Straight, silent, almost impersonal, almost a hermit for 
the rest of the world, Pavel Vlasov, the knight of the 
Holy Truth, will follow his difficult road. He will not 
groan when poisonous thorns sink into his flesh. He will 
not complain when his soul writhes with mortal pain. 
When the hour strikes, he will give away his life, quiet 
and restrained till the last breath, as behooves a man 
who gives light to those in the dark. 

Just the opposite is his friend, Andrey Nachodka. 
Though older than Pavel and more experienced, he looks 
younger. He is tall and rather heavy, and there is some- 
thing childish in his appearance. He has a remarkable 
capacity for making friends. Everybody feels at ease 
with him. After a short talk one has the impression of 
having known him for years. Andrey is very clever, 
very observant, very striking in his remarks, yet he hurts 
nobody. His sense of humor is of a smiling good-natured 
character. He is genial, cheerful, talkative, seemingly 
superficial, in reality deeply stirred by the processes of 

Andrey Nachodka is a poet. He sees visions. His 
very participation in the revolutionary movement is due, 
perhaps, to his longing for beauty in human relations. 
The revolutionary movement itself seems to him the in- 
carnation of ideal beauty. " At times I have wonderful 
feelings,'' he says. '* Everywhere men seem to be com- 


rades, all lit with the same fire, all happy, good, cheerful, 
understanding each other at a glance, having no desire 
to hurt anybody. Men seem to be one great chorus, 
each heart singing its own song, all songs flowing into a 
great, beautiful river which rolls majestically towards the 
ocean of sun-kissed joys, the ocean of a new life." 

Andrey Nachodka is never depressed. It seems as if 
nothing can cloud his serene mood. He takes all the in- 
conveniences of his occupation with a hearty smile. He 
wanders from town to town as if for his own pleasure. 
He feels a citizen of the labor world, quite comfortable 
wherever he happens to stay. He gives the impression 
of being incapable of feeling pain. 

Yet his heart is full of pain — for others, for the world. 
He feels the grief of all the mothers whose sons have 
gone on the perilous road of revolt; he feels the aching 
of his comrades' hearts when they tear themselves away 
from what is dearest to them. He has a violent clash 
with Pavel Vlasov for being too rigid with his poor old 
mother : he calls it conceit and self-indulgence, though he 
sees very well his comrade's side. He Is tender and 
sensitive and delicate and pure. 

It is the great tragedy of his life that instead of loving 
he is compelled to hate; instead of admiring beauty and 
caressing the sprouting buds of life, he must fight bloody 
battles abhorrent to his nature. Yet he does not shirk. 
"What can you do?" he says. *' You must hate men 
in order to hasten the coming of a time when you will 
be able to admire men. We must destroy those who are 
in the way of life, who sell men for money to acquire 
respect and comfort. If Judas blocks the road of honest 
men ready to betray them, I should be a Judas myself 
not to crush him. ... At times I am compelled to 
resort to the enemies' weapon, — is it my fault? Is it a 
sin? They kill scores of us, hundreds of us. This gives 
me a right to raise my hand and strike one of the enemy's 
heads, the man who approaches me nearest or is most in- 


jurious to the work of my life. This is logical. . . . 
If necessary, I shall tear my own heart from my breast 
and trample it with my feet.'* 

Andrey Nachodka meets the local spy, who is thor- 
oughly familiar with the life of the suburb and there- 
fore very dangerous to the organization. The spy tries 
to induce him to become an agent of " law and order." 
Andrey is so outraged that he slaps the man in his face. 
Walking away he hears one of his comrades attacking 
the spy. He knows that the work of death is being done 
behind his back. He is appalled, yet he does not turn 
to stop the assassin. For a long time he has a nauseating 
feeling, as if he himself had done the ugly thing. Pavel 
does not understand his disgust. *' Why, you haven't 
killed him," he says, '* and if . . . what would it mat- 
ter? " But Andrey is all astir. " Brother," he says, '' it 
was a man anyway, it was a human being. It is loath- 
some. To know that a man is being killed and not to 
interfere . . . this is perhaps the most hateful coward- 
ice." Yet when the ordeal by fire comes and Andrey 
faces the necessity of using a club, he will do it, he will 
" weed the fields of life " that the new crops may freely 

In the midst of the ugly present, in the din and crash 
and turmoil of a dreary world he feels the growth of a 
big heart. *^ A new heart is growing, mother dear," he 
says to Vlasov's mother, ** a new heart is throbbing in 
the body of life. All hearts have been rent by malevo- 
lence, gnawed by greed, bitten by envy, all are torn, 
wounded, oozing filth, falsehood, cowardice. . . . All 
men are sick, afraid of life, walking as in a fog, knowing 
each his own pain. But here a Man comes illuminating 
life with the blaze of Reason, calling, shouting: Oh, you 
straying creatures ! The time has come for you to know 
that the interests of all are the same, that all ought to 
live, all wish to grow. He is alone, the man who calls, 
he must strain his voice to be heard, he needs friends, 


he feels lonesome, dreary and cold. But at the sound 
of his voice what is healthy in all hearts unites, all hearts 
join each other and form one heart, strong, deep, sensi- 
tive, as a great silver bell. And hark! the bell rings 
forth: Peoples of all the world unite into one family! 
Love, not hatred, is the mother of life ! . . . Brothers, 
I hear this bell ringing in the world.'* 

Under the accompaniment of the great silver bell a 
man like Andrey can smilingly endure all the tortures of 
life. And he, not his friend Pavel, is destined ** to throw 
the spark deep into human hearts." 

Pavel and Andrey are the aristocrats of the suburb, 
the elite of the labor-movement. Their comrade Nich- 
olas is of the rank and file. Nicholas Vyesovshchikov 
has no talents; he is neither a good organizer nor a 
good speaker, nor has he a vivid imagination. What 
makes him strong and keeps him upright is hatred, veno- 
mous, irritable hatred. His furious mood is due, perhaps, 
to the fact that his father is the well-known thief of the 
suburb; perhaps it is his ungainly appearance, his pock- 
marked face, his awkward figure that have made him a 
lonely, sullen creature, ready to sneer at people. Nobody 
loves him, and he loves nobody, and it seems that he has 
joined the organization out of sheer despair. 

His first years in the organization are marked with 
hatred only. When the house of Pavel is being searched 
in his presence, he is the only one who is impertinent to 
the gendarmerie officer. *' Don't you know who are the 
rascals spreading criminal proclamations in the factory? " 
the officer asks Andrey, and before the latter has time to 
answer, Nicholas grumbles from his corner: "This is 
the first time we've seen rascals here." The officer is 
infuriated. Nicholas goes to prison. In the cell he is 
impertinent to the guards and the warden. His friend 
Pavel tries to assuage him, but he cannot master his 
temper. " They are poisonous scabs," he says, '' they 
must be destroyed." 


Out of prison, he is still gloomier. '' I think some peo- 
ple must be killed,'' he declares once to Andrey. 

" What for? '' Andrey queries. 

" In order that they may not exist." 

** Have you a right to make corpses out of living 
human beings?" Andrey jokingly asks. 

** Yes. I have a mandate from the people," Nicholas 

'' People are my enemies," he continues by way of ex- 
planation. '' If they kick me, I have a right to hit them, 
to smash their muzzles, their hideous eyes. ... I 
hate them, and I won't let them live." 

Nicholas is suspicious. Not even his friends does he 
trust. *' You don't treat me as an equal," he says to 
Andrey. ** You and Pavel are the clever ones, to you I 
am not the same as the other comrades. You keep me at 
a distance." His mistrust is only an expression of his 
disgust with himself. " I have a bad face," he says, 
scrutinizing his reflection in the mirror. " What does 
your face matter?" Andrey replies. "Why," Nicholas 
says, *' Sahenka " (the girl agitator) *' told us that the 
face is the mirror of the soul." Andrey tries to make 
a joke of it, but Nicholas is unhappy. He knows that 
he is obnoxious to his acquaintances, owing to his surli- 
ness, yet this only makes him more unhappy. 

Nicholas is impatient in revolutionary affairs. He 
wants everything to be done immediately. '* I can't 
wait," he says, *' it's too long." He wishes to go and 
overthrow things right away. He wants to " fight." He 
would like to kill and burn. He Is not satisfied with his 
friends' explanation that the established order is to be 
blamed. He wants to find a guilty person, the '* most 
guilty of all," and to do away with him. " He is like an 
overheated stove," Pavel's mother remarks, *' he burns 
but he doesn't warm." 

After his second imprisonment, however, from which 
he escaped by mere chance, a great change comes over 


him. He has not wasted his time in prison. He has 
studied much and thought much. He has communicated 
with his fellow-prisoners, better educated, more experi- 
enced and having a better understanding of life than he. 
He has been compelled to work over himself. Perhaps 
the prison is the first place where he has come into close 
touch with people. And he has learned that there are 
beautiful, unselfish and sincere men and women In the 

After his escape he is much softer, friendlier, more 
comradely than before. His fondness for the revolu- 
tionary organization has increased. He becomes a type- 
setter in a secret press and is happy to serve the great 

Prison has made him a useful member of the revolu- 
tionary organization. 

A gallery of revolutionary workingmen is presented in 
R. Grigoryev's story, Fading Away^ which deals with the 
revolutionary labor-movement at the time of the second 
Duma. The most conspicuous figure is Sergey Petrov. 
His road to revolutionary prominence has been easy. A 
graduate of a public school in Petersburg, he has early 
taken a fancy to reading. Incidentally he has come 
across the Marxist literature, which he has studied alone, 
without aid. It has induced him to join the revolutionary 
organization. A good orator, a strong opponent at open 
debates, and a good organizer, he soon becomes known 
in revolutionary Petersburg. He addresses gatherings 
not only of workingmen, but also of intellectuals. In 
his speech and carriage he hardly differs from a poor 
student or a teacher, yet he is always aware of the fact 
that he is not an " intellectual,'' and he makes the in- 
tellectuals feel he is aware of it. He is not quite himself 
in the society of educated men. This attitude he shares 
with many a workingman who, meeting the intellectuals 
on a seemingly equal footing in the labor organization, 
privately, however, cannot forgive them their " gentle- 

THE Elite of the working-class 301 

manly " descent and " gentlemanly '' mode of living. 
This attitude towards the intellectuals was widespread 
and painful, and it sometimes became harmful to the 
very progress of the organization. Its roots were many. 
On one side the workingman was taught that all men are 
born equal and was at least sure that inside of the revolu- 
tionary organization there could exist no inequality what- 
soever; on the other hand he saw "comrades'' who, 
earning perhaps no more than an average skilled laborer, 
managed to live a life far more beautiful and comfort- 
able than a regular " proletarian." On one side he was 
taught that the working-class was the real power, the 
great creator of a new life, while the intellectuals were a 
negligible group, a passing category in the historical 
process; on the other hand he saw the intellectuals occupy- 
ing the most prominent places in the revolutionary or- 
ganization, enjoying recognition and actually leading the 
entire movement by mere power of intellect and knowl- 
edge. This hurt. It hurt the more, the higher the work- 
ingman climbed on the ladder of mental development. 

Besides this aching attitude towards the intellectuals, 
Sergey Petrov has another source of suffering: his fits 
of drinking. He is not a drunkard in the ordinary sense 
of the word, only once in several months he gets a spell 
which lasts a week or more. During the spell he never 
sobers up, he sells everything he can lay hands on to 
get more whisky, he acts all the time like a delirious per- 
son, till one morning he wakes up with a terrific headache 
and a mental nausea. This drinking-disease goes very 
badly with the work of a revolutionist in a responsible 
position. Petrov knows it and he struggles hard against 
his fatal inclination, but time and again he is overcome 
by a power stronger than his will, and he finds himself 
alone in his room facing a big bottle of whisky. 

In his revolutionary work Sergey Petrov is strong, de- 
voted, uncompromising. " The activities of an agitator 
and an orator never satisfied him," the author says. 


** Real work he deemed only the slow and troublesome 
work of an organizer. When he saw the brittle, formless 
human material hardening and taking shape under his 
fingers, when he felt the mass of the working-people 
crystallizing around himself hard and firm, he experi- 
enced the real joy and satisfaction of a creative process.'* 

It is a hard time in which Petrov lives. The first Duma 
has been dissolved, the second Duma is doomed to death. 
The labor organizations are falling to pieces. Petrov has 
not lost his faith in the revolution, he still hopes a new 
wave is coming. In his dark hours he loves to resort 
to visions of the future which he sees in his imagination. 
** He sees the future life in himself and around himself 
with indisputable clearness, not as a miracle, but as a 
natural consequence of natural causes.'' But times are 
becoming harder and harder. 

Petrov cannot conceive it. He cannot admit defeat. 
He cannot even think of a compromise. *' We must 
fight," he says to a friend, '* we must feel that we are 
crushing, strangling them, or we are not worth anything." 
Petrov holds his head high, but tempests are raging within 

The dissolution of the Duma is at hand. Petrov calls 
a private meeting of the ** proletarian " members of the 
revolutionary committee, avoiding the intellectuals. He 
puts before them the question, what shall be done in case 
the Duma is dissolved? One of the workingmen says: 
** I am afraid no collective protest is possible. The 
masses are tired, downcast, no slogans can be voiced in 

Petrov is upset. "Why are you so afraid?" he ex- 
claims. "Why are you always seeing black? Before 
the Duma convened you prophesied the Black Hundred 
peril, in the time of elections you predicted our defeat. 
Now that the proletariat follows with absorbing interest 
the fight of our representatives in the Duma, you speak 
of fatigue, of depression. You judge by the fact that 


the workingmen are slow In frequenting our circles, but 
who are now the instructors of the circles? The intel- 
lectuals are deserting the organization, and our own folk 
are unable to put two words together/' 

" Oh, Sergey/' the man replies. " You don't see the 
facts. Our people have taken to drinking again. In 
Peskovka the women have become infuriated, they have 
declared a strike, they do not want to have secret meet- 
ings in their houses. . . . Loads of people are being 
arrested, exiled, loads are being discharged. . . . Life 
has become unbearable. . . . Our people, the old 
guard, are nearly all gone, the young ones do not believe 
in the cause, it is difficult to start in such times." 

** No ! " Petrov vigorously protests, " it is not they who 
lack faith, it is you ! It is not true. It is a calumny that 
you invent on the working-class ! I thought that only the 
intellectuals turned their backs upon the work; now I 
see that you, the cream of the working population, are 
no better. You are walking around with sour faces, you 
doom every enterprise to failure by your downhearted- 
ness, you influence the mood of the masses. . . . Where 
are our workingmen? You say they left us. Yes, but 
this does not mean they left the movement. They simply 
turned their backs upon our weakened, crumbling or- 
ganization. . . . What IS to be done, then? We must 
speak to them directly, avoiding the organization, avoid- 
ing you! " 

Petroy's lips quiver. He feels some untruth in the 
words of his comrades, but an unspeakable fear befalls 
him. Something horrifying is going on. Whatever has 
happened, he has been used to put the blame on the 
organization, not on the working-class. Now he is com- 
pelled to doubt the foundation of his creed : the readiness 
of the working-masses to fight. He cannot digest this 
new revelation, the author says. '' In his own blood, in 
his strong muscles he felt a spirited vigor, a steadfast 
aptitude for action. He never distinguished between his 


own mental processes and those of the proletariat, being 
in the habit of using ' we wish ' instead of ' I wish.' How 
was it possible that they were ' fatigued ' while he was 
ready for a decisive combat? '' 

"Wait a little! " he shouted. "Who are you, then? 
Who am I? You, Kalyonov, aren't you strong, forceful, 
active? Would you desert our cause? Would you re- 
sign? And you, Kiryusha, are you really tired? Don't 
you like our strife any more? And you, Kleshtch? You 
are laughing at me ! Is it not strange that I come to you 
with such questions? I know you are a fiery fellow, 
Kleshtch, you would not be able to live without pas- 
sionate work! Who is tired, then? Aren't * they ' the 
same men as * we ' are? . . . Am I becoming insane, 

Events prove that his comrades are right. The Duma 
is soon dissolved. Nothing follows. The workingmen 
are silent. Petrov, in spite of former bitter apprehen- 
sions, is unable to reconcile himself with the facts. He 
continues waiting for revolts. And though he admits to 
Kalyonov on the third day after the dissolution of the 
Duma that the working-class is beaten, he does not be- 
lieve it, secretly expecting protests from the ranks of 
those who have never come in contact with the organi- 

On the fifth day he gives up hope, and pretending to 
be ill, shuts himself in his house. Days and nights he 
lies on his bed, face turned to the wall, trying to under- 
stand what has happened. 

The organization in the meantime is rapidly disappear- 
ing. The intellectuals are quitting their work, the masses 
are not responding to the calls of those who remain. 
Meetings formerly frequented by several hundred hardly 
attract a dozen. Nobody is to be blamed, but the revolu- 
tionary forces are shrinking deplorably. 

When Petrov finally comes out of his room, he is a 
changed man. He has no desire to meet comrades. He 


has no interest in life. The administration of his factory 
discharges him, he has no means of subsistence, but some- 
how he is indifferent to it. He is indifferent to every- 
thing. Not even drinking attracts him any longer. 
There is no reason for resisting temptation, and tempta- 
tion has lost its effect. He goes to a saloon and pours 
down his throat one glass after another, without sense 
of taste or of smell. He hopes for relief, but the gloom 
bites deeper into his soul; everything becomes colorless 
and confused, and no joy and no boisterous feeling of 
freedom is born from the burning liquid. 

Sometimes a fresh fit of energy comes over him. He 
runs to a comrade, decides to call a mass-meeting, chooses 
a topic which would appeal to the masses. At such times 
he is the old strong and restless Petrov. But then comes 
the evening. The meeting-place is empty. All hopes 
fade again, and Petrov is face to face with deadly 

A few weeks later Petrov makes an attempt on the 
life of a police-officer and is caught. Evidently, this Is 
only a way of committing suicide. Petrov is tried, sen- 
tenced to death, and soon executed. 

The cause of the revolution was seemingly lost. It is 
interesting, however, to notice, that Fading Away does 
not end in a minor key. Two or three years pass after 
1907. An intellectual of the '' good old times " happens 
to be at a concert for the benefit of a workmen's organi- 
zation. She recognizes one of the " rank and file " of 
former years and is surprised to notice the new tone of 
self-confidence and the fresh combative spirit in this rep- 
resentative of the masses. 

" Why recollect the past? " she says. " Aren't we all 
beaten? What is the use of talking? " 

''Oh, no!'' the workingman eagerly interrupts her. 
" You are mistaken, comrade ! We are not beaten at all. 
You went away from us. We, however, continued grow- 
ing. During those hard years a new intellectual force has 


arisen among us. We are going to have our own prole- 
tarian leaders. Don't you feel that the hardest times 
are over ! What a youth has sprung up among the work- 
ing people ! " 

This was written in 19 13. At that time new waves 
of revolutionary movement were already sweeping the 
capital of Russia. A new era was coming. 


The Russian intellectual sought in the revolution 
neither land, like the peasant, nor bread and culture, like 
the workingman. The Russian intellectual had enough 
opportunities of earning a living even under the autocratic 
regime, and as to social distinction and recognition, he 
enjoyed it in a far greater measure than did his colleagues 
in the more progressive countries where the differences 
between the educated and non-educated classes were less 
marked. What the intellectuals really needed as a social 
group was political freedom, giving intelligence and 
knowledge a share in the ruling of the nation. From the 
standpoint of group-interests, the intellectuals in Russia 
ought to have formed a purely political party aiming 
solely at the overthrow of the absolutist order. Yet they 
were well enough acquainted with the history of revolu- 
tions to know that a party of this kind consisting of intel- 
lectuals only, would be powerless to change the existing 
order. The Zemstvo organization represented a sem- 
blance of an intellectuals' party, but It was moderate, 
even timid In the absence of a strong revolutionary move- 
ment, and could cherish no hope of ever reconstructing 
Russia without the aid of the masses. 

The liberation of Russia must come from the ranks 
of the people. This was the creed of the intellectuals 
for generations and generations. Hence the great yearn- 
ing for mass action. Hence the odd fact that In 1881 
the Intellectuals of the party '' Land and Freedom," 
whose members had assassinated Tzar Alexander II, 
hailed the first pogroms In Southern Russia as a sign of 
the awakening of the masses against those whom they 



considered their oppressors.* Hence all the attempts of 
the intellectuals to carry the revolutionary propaganda 
to the workingmen and the peasants. 

When the revolution approached, the intellectuals 
found themselves affiliated with either the workmen or 
the peasants. In the first case they demanded an eight- 
hour work-day, social insurance, freedom of labor unions, 
and, as a guarantee for those reforms, political freedom. 
In the second case they demanded socialization or mu- 
nicipalization of the land, and, as a way of achieving 
these reforms, they called for a political revolution. In 
the first case they " took the standpoint of the working- 
class," in the second they *^ took the standpoint of the 
peasants,'* as this attitude was called in the revolutionary 
jargon. In either case they demanded things they did not 
need themselves. Leading the masses into revolutionary 
battles, they knew the fruits of victory would be for 
themselves of only indirect value. 

This gives a clue to the difference between the two 
major forces of the revolution: the workingmen and 
peasants on one side, the intellectuals on the other. It 
was not only a difference of education or modes of living. 
It was a fundamental difference in the attitude towards 
the revolution. It was a difference of psychological keys. 
The workingmen and peasants sought in the revolution 
a realization of their class-interests, which meant pri- 
marily material gain. The intellectuals sought in the 
revolution a realization of political freedom, which 
meant primarily immaterial values. The workingmen 
and peasants strove to shatter the chains of physi- 
cal bondage. The intellectuals strove to free the human 

The attitude of the workingmen and peasants towards 
the revolution was a direct one. Thought and action 


*This aberration of political vision was very brief and of no i 
jurious consequences. It is cited here only to illustrate the passionate 
longing of revolutionary intellectuals for the awakening of the mute 
masses to any action whatever. 


were inseparable with them. In their actions they knew 
no doubt and no circumspection. Their understanding 
of the revolution, not excluding the more enlightened 
among them, was simple, even primitive. Everything 
was clear and plain to them. They knew no sophistica- 
tion. They were quite themselves on all the stages of the 

^ The attitude of the intellectuals towards the revolu- 
tion was a resultant of many lines of will and thought and 
emotion. The intellectual felt the call of the revolution 
as a categorical imperative of his immortal soul, and 
at the same time he was keenly aware of the fact that 
he was sacrificing himself for a high human ideal. The 
intellectual came into the revolution with a deep longing 
for the realization of the true, the beautiful and the good. 
The intellectuals brought into the revolution all the philo- 
sophical groupings of a never satisfied mind; all the reli- 
gious aspirations of a people afflicted with a passionate 
longing for their God; all the doubts and queries and 
joys and desperations of a soul entangled in the problems 
of life and death; all the gamut of pains and delights of 
a deeply sincere heart vacillating between the twilight of 
security and the fierce blaze of danger; all the songs and 
vibrations and cravings of human emotions leading from 
nowhere to a land resplendent with the brightest colors 
in the human imagination. There were intellectuals who 
came Into the revolution because they had a strong sense 
of social justice, and there were intellectuals who joined 
the battle because It seemed cowardly to stay away when 
the others were sacrificing the prime of their lives ; there 
were intellectuals who were drawn into the organization 
by a vision of beauty in human relations, and there were 
intellectuals who were driven into the ranks by the empti- 
ness of their private lives. Some went into the revolu- 
tion out of youthful daring, some out of despair; some 
out of strength, others out of weakness ; some were creat- 
ing a new world in the processes of fighting, some were 


hiding from themselves. In general, the intellectual revo- 
lutionists were under fire as individuals^ each prevailed 
upon by his own spiritual motives, all together creating 
a new political order which to them was only the shell 
of what they were seeking. It is quite obvious that the 
intellectual was an extremely complicated phenomenon, 
and that it is harder to define the type of the intellectual 
revolutionist than any other. 

The most conspicuous difference between the working- 
man and the intellectual is that the former takes the 
revolutionary movement for granted, while the other 
reflects; the former is all volition, the latter is often 
meditative; the former finds himself in active concert 
with his fellow-workingmen as a single instrument finds 
its place in the totality of an orchestra, the latter gropes 
for himself in himself. Hence the varied dramas of the 
soul of the intellectual revolutionist. 

"Why fight?" a young revolutionary student asks 
himself in a story by V. Dmitrieva, Cloudlets, And he 
answers, it is the same as draining a swamp which poisons 
the air of your house. " Imagine in the vicinity of my 
house a vast suppurating malodorous bog. It poisons 
the air I breathe and impairs my comfort. Will you 
laugh at me if I start put to drain it and plant it with 
flowers? " 

** Of course not,'' his friend replies. 

" In order to accomplish it I shall have to dig canals, 
to stand knee-deep in fetid water, to suffer the bites of 
mosquitoes, leeches and other nasty creatures the swamp 
is bristling wi'th. Will you for this call me an ' ascetic 
idealist ' ? Will you say : ' What a fool I Why tor- 
ture himself if he can easily shut the windows of his 
house with shutters so that the nuisance does not bother 

" There is no asceticism in this action," he continues. 
" You can easily shut the windows of your house, but the 
miasma will penetrate through the cracks in the shutters. 


A human being with sensitive nerves can never enjoy his 
comfort when the air around him is fouL*' 

This is perhaps the most primitive conception of the 
revolution in intellectual circles. The revolution is only 
a matter of comfort. / cannot enjoy life because other 
people are oppressed. / cannot eat my meal while the 
swamp exhales an unhealthy odor. Therefore I have to 
stand the mosquito bites and the leeches, and clean the 
ground. Once the feat is accomplished I shall return to 
my table and eat my bread and butter comfortably. I 
expect that nothing will disturb me after that. 

It is a primitive conception, yet the psychological proc- 
esses leading its adherents into the revolutionary fire are 
more complicated than those of Pavel Vlasov or Andrey 
Nachodka. After all, if the intellectual wishes, he can 
shut his windows and be safe. It is only a desire for 
harmony that urges him to go and fight revolutionary 

In most of the cases the conceptions are finer and more 

V. Veresayev is the well-known Russian writer who 
devoted his charming talent to depicting the soul-dramas 
of the intellectuals in the various stages of Russian social 
life. His stories give precious insights into the attitude 
of the intellectual towards the revolution. 

Here is a group of intellectuals about the beginning 
of the twentieth century (in the Turning Point) : 
Tokaryov, an ex-revolutionist, not long ago returned 
from Siberian exile; Tanya, his sister, a young girl 
who has been studying in a college, but has left it for 
the sake of being *^ free ''; Varya, an assistant physician 
in a Zemstvo hospital; Sergey, her brother, a student. 
Of all this little circle, only Tokaryov, a man over thirty, 
begins to think of his material well-being. As to the 
others, they are totally indifferent to their career, their 
comfort, their physical surroundings. Every one of them 
has to do some work to earn a living, but this is some- 


thing external, it is an unavoidable evil. ** Why have 
you quit college? '' Tokaryov asks his sister, whom he has 
not seen for some time. "What do I need it for?" 
Tanya replies. " College is good only at the beginning, 
to get the proper connections. Once you have them, 
why stick to it? " 

** But college gives systematic knowledge! " 

Tanya laughs mirthfully. 

'' No, it does not give systematic knowledge, It gives 
a diploma. I am not sixteen, I can acquire knowledge 
without the professor's pointer." 

" Strange. You were a senior already. What harm 
would a diploma do you ? Why not have it for cases of 
emergency in the future?" 

" Ah, how boresome it is to think of the future ! I 
am not afraid of any future. I shall be able to live any- 
way, even without a diploma. And besides, didn't you 
leave your medical school a year before graduation? " 

Tokaryov is beaten with his own weapon. When 
he was younger he cared as little about external things 
as Tanya. 

What unites this circle is a profound interest in social 
problems. The latest convention of the German Social- 
Democratic Party is for them a vital topic of conversa- 
tion. The controversy between orthodox Marxism and 
Revisionism absorbs them profoundly. They all believe 
in the coming revolution. They all consider it their duty 
to work for the revolution. And all of them are anxious 
to notice the first indications of a popular upheaval. 

Here they are walking in the fields, seven or eight in- 
tellectuals spending their summer vacation in the pro- 
vincial town. A storm Is gathering. Lightnings flash 
through the dark sky. Varya exclaims: 

** I love the storm ! How beautiful ! It lifts me up. 
It is so resolute. Indubitable, creative. Under the storm, 
no hesitation, no questioning seems to be possible. All 
that you do is good, necessary, just what you ought to do. 


And how wonderful it is to act, to have no reflections, 
as you are seized and carried forth by a great momentous 
power! " 

Tanya remarks that times are stormy, but Varya dis- 

** No, where is the storm? For a moment it seemed 
that something was happening. It turned out to be a 
mirage. Now everything is dark and gloomy again. 
Everything is shallow, drowsy, meek. The wave did not 
come, that great wave which uplifts men and makes them 
forget themselves, which strengthens the weak, which 
effaces doubts, which makes the spirit grow. The road 
was found, but it turned out to be a book-road." 

"A book-road!" Tanya exclaims. ** Are you blind? 
Don't you see what is going on ? " 

" I am sure I see everything. There are faint begin- 
nings, hints, not more. Do you remember Dostoyevski's 
remarks on the ' eternal wanderer,' the Russian intel- 
lectual, and his drama? Not long ago it seemed as if 
the problem was finally solved, the wanderer stopped 
being a wanderer, a tremendous elementary power was 
rising from below to join hands with him. But has it 
happened? There is a difference, of course, times have 
changed, but the changes are only slight. Now, as be- 
fore, we are kings in the realm of ideas and homeless 
wanderers in life/' 

Young Sergey thinks it outrageous to be dependent 
upon a mysterious *' elementary power." He does not 
want to worship this crude god — mass-movement. He 
wants to rely upon himself and those who belong to his 
class. But the others reasonably argue that vanguards 
are good only when there are rearguards to back them 
up and that a number of Sergeys would be unable to 
shatter the ancient walls. 

And so they discuss the eternal problems of the revo- 
lution, those seven or eight young men and women, who 
have happened to meet in a small provincial town during 


their summer vacation. So they were discussing these 
problems all over Russia, hardly believing that the revo- 
lution was at hand, that the great " elemental power " 
was actually rising. 

It is almost pathetic to observe the circle of intellect- 
uals in the company of a representative of the " masses." 
Valuyev, an old acquaintance of Tokaryov's, a working- 
man connected with revolutionary workmen circles, hap- 
pens to stop for a day in the little town to meet his 
friend. There is nothing extraordinary about this new 
son of the " people." He had been illiterate till twenty, 
then he became interested in reading, then he became 
familiar with revolutionary ideas, which he understands 
very crudely. It seems that he is not doing any par- 
ticular work for the revolution, he is just more enlight- 
ened than his fellow-workingmen and has revolutionary 
connections. But how deeply he stirs the imagination of 
the intellectual circle ! How attentively they listen to 
his utterances! How painstakingly they scrutinize his 
manners, his figure, his gestures, his hands. He comes 
to them from another planet, he brings to them a mes- 
sage of a new future, he is the token of a coming revolu- 
tion ! What he says, his negation of theory, the philos- 
ophy of selfishness he is preaching is not above platitude, 
but the young intellectuals are impressed, moved, over- 
whelmed. *' A new man ! " "A new psychology ! '* "A 
new mental order I '* 

When the ** wave " becomes more perceptible, all these 
young men and women, with the exception, perhaps, of 
Tokaryov, will plunge into it with all the ardor and re- 
ligious ecstasy of their souls. 

For the time being only Tanya is strongly attracted to 
the movement. She is the typical young revolutionary. 
She needs action. She abhors stagnation. She is ready 
to do any work, great or small, for the people. Before 
coming to the town she had helped famine-stricken peas- 
ants in one of the counties. She has spent there the last 


penny of her slight allowance, she has given the last 
grain of her energy. Back in town, she has no money and 
no work, but she is indifferent to privation. It is not even 
asceticism; Tanya simply does not feel the lack of 

In decision and action she is like a flash. She believes 
in the near storm, she feels it with her sensitive nerves. 
Her soul is like a beautiful musical instrument with a 
multitude of fine strings. It responds to every call from 
the great realms of life. It sounds charming tones, full 
of harmonious hope. 

Life is a holiday for Tanya, her revolutionary work a 
holy sacrifice in the glorious temple of life. What she 
does is not dictated by duty. She does it because it gives 
her pleasure, because it is the highest realization of life. 
In her manners she is brusque, straightforward, non- 
chalant. This is due to her being too much absorbed in 
her thoughts, ideas and plans, to care much for external 
things. She has an innate aversion to compromises, and 
a quiet, moderate, *' settled down " life is unthinkable to 

Tanya cannot conceive of death. She does not feel it. 
" I cannot reconcile myself with death," she says. ** To 
live, to act, to strive, to breathe, and all of a sudden to 
be interrupted when everything is so beautiful and absorb- 
ing." No, she has no place for death in her scheme of 

Tanya is one of those pioneers who went into the work- 
men quarters to spread the revolutionary ferment among 
the people. She does not wait for the ** masses " to come 
to her. She does not theorize about the *' wave." She 
does not look for the initiative of an organization. 
She seizes every opportunity to get connected with 
the working-people. She makes acquaintances in the 
streets or in the railway trains. She speaks to her new 
friends of her heart's desire, and her sincerity con- 
quers, because it is the truth. Tanya is one of those 


revolutionary personalities who cheered the stern revo- 
lutionary work by their genial smile, who made the 
prison-walls appear brighter to her fellow-prisoners by 
the carefree tone of her songs, who marched in the 
first ranks at open demonstrations to address words of 
fraternity to armed soldiers, and who, red flag in uplifted 
hands, encouraged her comrades to hold the barricades 
in the open street-fight, till a bullet struck her young 
breast and she fell, mingling her red blood with the red 
of the revolutionary banner. 

In the autumn Tanya leaves for Petersburg. Her 
brother sees her to the train. On his way back he vis- 
ualizes her face, mobile, energetic, with big and daring, 
almost challenging eyes. " Strange," the author says, 
" he knew very well she was going on a perilous road 
with no rest or comfort. Yet he felt no fear for her 
future, it seemed to him he would have no pity, either. 
On the contrary, he experienced a burning envy at her 
greed for life and fearlessness in the face of life.'' 

Tokaryov himself is a man who has lost not his creed, 
but his impulse for action. He is faithful to the ideas of 
his youth, he admires those who are capable of self- 
sacrifice, he thinks it the only worthy task in human life, 
but something is lacking in him. " I am afraid to look 
into myself," he says. " I feel something disappearing, 
something tremendously necessary, without which there 
is no life. The immediate feeling is waning, nothing can 
take its place. I am growing more indifferent towards 
nature. There is a wall rising between me and the rest 
of the people." Tokaryov knows full well that this is 
moral death, but he is unable to oppose it. It is as if a 
man knows he is becoming insane and has no power to 
stem the inevitable. 

Tokaryov has not changed his ideas, but still he is 
offended by the manners and behavior of the younger 
generation. He is cooler. He is more tolerant. He can 
understand compromising. He admits the necessity of 


choosing the lesser evil. He disagrees with young Sergey, 
who insists on an uncompromising policy, who declares 
that '* honest people must prove by word and action that 
infamy is infamy, just as dishonest people prove that 
infamy is the noblest thing.*' No, Tokaryov cannot ac- 
cept this straight line of conduct. It seems to him the 
world could not exist under such rules. He argues, yet 
he cannot help thinking how much beauty and truth there 
is in the youthful daring. 

Tokaryov believes in the revolution. But here he 
visits an old friend, a member of the Zemstvo, who leads 
the quiet, comfortable life of a landlord, and he envies 
the security and the ease of his existence. *' How good it 
is to live this way! " he thinks. ** A beautiful wife, white 
and graceful. In summer-time a country mansion with 
branching lime-trees, with a white cloth over the table, 
with guests riding home in cabs through, the darkness. 
In winter a cosy study, with green plants, Turkish divans 
and a big desk. All this should be illuminated by broad 
social activities, absorbing all the abilities of a man, justi- 
fying his existence and at the same time demanding no 
great sacrifices." 

There is nothing unusual in such dreams in times of 
peace, yet they are incompatible with revolutionary 
activities. Tokaryov knows it and feels the humiliation 
of his new inclinations, yet he cannot soar again. 

He knows he is doomed. He looks upon him- 
self as upon a disease-stricken man who iS rotting alive. 

" Something had happened with his soul,'' the author 
says, *' something was crushed, forever. Contempt for 
danger was gone, carelessness for the future was gone. 
In front of him everything was dreary, cold and turbid. 
He remembered his dreams of a mansion, of a com- 
fortable life, and the idea was repulsive to him. Why? 
... To live In the ordinary way, without a great task 
that gives life meaning and value? Ever more clearly he 
saw now that life without meaning and value was im- 


possible and that, once a value had been recognized, one 
should be able to sacrifice everything for it. If a man, 
however, combines the question of life's value with the 
question of a budget and a career, it is better that he 
should stop thinking of values. And Tokaryov became 
ashamed of himself." 

Tokaryov hates the young uncompromising Sergey as 
a sinner hates his conscience, yet he cannot stop discussing 
with him the problems of his own life. In a moment of 
frankness he says to him: 

^* Listen. I am an ordinary man. I was destined to 
live quietly and humbly, not to mingle in things, to have 
no serious problems, to go on like everybody around me, 
earning money in one way or another, cursing the work 
which sustains me, propagating my kind and playing cards 
in the evening. But, you see : there is a time in the life 
of even the swampiest soul when it becomes transformed, 
it feels wings growing. Under favorable conditions its 
unclear yearnings shape themselves into a striving towards 
a definite ideal. Then the man goes to fight, to perish 
for his ideal, believing no life to be possible without a 
great aim and a great life's problem. But then a few 
years pass. The wings dry and fall down, the man 
shrivels. The cherished aims become strange and dead 
to him. This is the stage I am in now. But the trouble 
is that I have been poisoned by my past, I am frightened 
by the void I am facing, I cannot live without an aim or 
a meaning. My wings are gone, and I cannot lift 
myself above the swamp. . . . What can give me power 
to lead a human life ? Philosophy ? Religion ? My very 
soul is rolling out of me, can you understand it? My 
soul is rolling out! . . . How can I retain it? " 

This cry of agony was ringing for generations and gen- 
erations in the night of Russian life. Human souls felt 
the necessity of action while circumstances doomed them 
to live in the morass. Human souls had visions of beau- 
tiful ideas while life was continually robbing them of the 


will-power to fight for their ideals. This was the ordi- 
nary biography of a Russian intellectual: at twenty, an 
ardent revolutionist (in theory), repudiating compro- 
mises (in discussions with his friends), cherishing the 
most novel social ideals; at twenty-five, a county physician, 
or a teacher, or an agriculturist, or a public-service officer, 
trying to be progressive and human, and being handi- 
capped at every step by the bureaucratic machinery and 
the indolence of so-called " society '* ; at thirty, a *' tired '' 
man, exhausted by the unequal struggle, disgusted by his 
failures, gradually yielding to the habits of his surround- 
ings, drinking whisky and playing cards every evening 
out of sheer boresomeness ; at thirty-five, a moral wreck, 
assimilated by his environment beyond recognition, and 
yet knowing that he is a victim, feeling in his innermost 
being the call of beauty and truth, and longing for another 
life, full of storms and bright light. Russian literature 
presents a long series of biographies of this kind, from 
Gontcharov's Oblomov to the " twilight-people '* of 
Tchechov. In a sense, Versayev^s Tokaryov is the last 
of his kind. Times did become stormy very soon, and 
most of the Tokaryovs were drawn into the revolu- 
tionary whirl. Yet even in the midst of the great struggle, 
holding responsible positions, leading and being led by the 
course of tremendous events, people of this kind remained 
essentially the same. The inheritance of generations of 
intellectuals weighed heavily on their shoulders. 

Tokaryov has no power to die. He tries it, but it dis- 
gusts him. Varya is stronger. She cannot even com- 
plain that her life is empty. She is an assistant physician 
in a hospital, devoted to her work, enjoying the love and 
gratitude of her patients and the recognition of the 
Zemstvo. In her work Varya knows no compromises. 
She is imperiling her life every day in her care for the sick 
peasants, and she does not think of it. She performs a 
splendidly heroic deed in entering the cell of a hydro- 
phobic man to quench his thirst with a drink of beer. 


Yet, when the Zemstvo resolves to express its gratitude 
for her conscientious and loving attitude towards the 
patients, she is upset. *' How can one thank a person 
for doing her duty?" she indignantly exclaims. "It is 
ridiculous! I am not working for the Zemstvo, and I 
am indifferent whether it approves or disapproves of my 

Varya has every reason to be satisfied with her life. 
But she suffers from the same mental affliction as Tokar- 
yov. ** Something is drying in me," she says to Tokaryov, 
'* just as a branch of a tree dries. The form, the outward 
appearance remain the same, nothing seems to have hap- 
pened, yet the flexibility is gone, life is gone, the branch 
is dry to the core. So it is with me. Everything is the 
same: my views, my aims, my endeavors, but the spirit 
is gone. ... I have no desire to give myself entirely, 
restlessly, though I don't value my own life." . . . 

It is not the fear of death that moves Varya, it is the 
lack of a keen, absorbing interest in life. Having realized 
this, Varya makes an end to her life. She purposely con- 
tracts a dreadful disease and dies quietly as she has 
lived. Had she endured a few years longer, she might 
have felt the throbbing of a new life in the country and 
experienced a resurrection. Or perhaps she would have 
sought in the revolution refuge from herself and carried 
the feeling of void with her into the very heart of the 
battle. The name of Varya's kind was legion. 


" During his stay abroad, Andrey Bolotov experi- 
enced the anxiety of the head of a household who has 
intrusted it to strangers. The tremendous party, with 
branches all over Russia, with dynamite shops, secret 
presses, terrorist-groups, territorial and provincial com- 
mittees, peasants* brotherhoods, workmen's associations, 
students' circles, officers' and soldiers' unions, with its 
successes, defeats, strikes, demonstrations, intrigues and 
arrests, seemed to him to be a great complicated house- 
hold demanding constant vigilance. He did not under- 
stand that his comrades (of the Central Committee) also 
had an idea of the party as a prosperous household, be- 
longing, however, not to Bolotov, but to each one of 
them. Had he understood this, he would not have 
changed. He would not have stopped feeling the only 
thing which gave him power to work and live ' illegally/ 
i.e., to work and live without a family, without a home 
and to expect prison or death without fear. Only the 
deeply rooted conviction that the party was the mother 
of the revolution and that he, Andrey Bolotov, was the 
most faithful, most obedient, most valiant of its mem- 
bers, this conviction alone that without him, the house- 
hold master, the party would fall to pieces and the house- 
hold would become impoverished, gave him power to 
live the way he did. And, therefore, he had no rest, 
he experienced the uneasiness that is known to every head 
of a household." 

Thus V. Ropshin,* in his story A Thing That Never 

♦Ropshin is the literary name of Boris Savenkov, one time head of 
the terrorist groups of the Social-Revolutionary Party, then a writer of 
repute. In August, 1917, he became minister in the Kerenski cabinet. 



Happened, describes a type known in the revolutionary 
circles as a " professional revolutionist." Andrey Bolo- 
tov is a nobleman, the son of a general, a man of high 
culture and education. But Andrey Bolotov never thinks 
of himself, never plans his own private life. Andrey 
Bolotov is an instrument of his party. He has identified 
himself wholly with the organization. 

** The hard days when he had known the sensation of 
fear, had passed long ago," the author says. ** As a 
sailor gets used to the sea and does not think of being 
drowned; as a soldier gets used to war and does not 
think of being killed; as a physician gets used to typhoid 
fever or consumption and does not think of becoming 
infected, so Bolotov got used to his nameless life and 
did not think he could be hanged. Deep in his lulled 
soul, however, there lived a dark, uneasy feeling, such 
as never leaves the sailor, the physician or the soldier. 
Obedient to the urge of this feeling Bolotov uncon- 
sciously, out of mere boresome habit, followed the rules 
of ' conspiracy.' He did not hide from relatives or 
friends, he simply could not understand how it was pos- 
sible to meet friends or relatives when it was not neces- 
sary, just for pleasure. He did not observe reticence with 
regard to the party affairs, he simply could not under- 
stand how it was possible to discuss them with strangers. 
He did not shun new people he came across, but he did 
not conceive how it was possible to trust any mere 
stranger. He did not notice that all his relations with 
people, from the janitor to his father and mother, were 
based on fear, on an eagerness to conceal from them the 
particulars of the life which interested him most. Had 
he seen it, he would not have been able to lead another 

Twice a week Andrey Bolotov attends the meetings of 
the Central Committee, which is the highest administrative 
and intellectual apparatus of the party. The Central 
Committee decides about current political tactics; the 


Central Committee votes on strikes, demonstrations, at- 
tempts on the life of officials and other revolutionary 
manifestations. The decisions of the Central Committee 
are considered the decisions of the party and are faith- 
fully carried out by local committees and single individ- 
uals as far as circumstances permit. Andrey Bolotov and 
his colleagues have a firmly established view on the rela- 
tion between their party and the people, between their 
party and the truth. Their organization can never be 
wrong, — this is an idea bred by the constant sacrifices 
the maintenance of the party requires, and warranted by 
the incessant growth of the party. On the other hand, 
the party is the legitimate leader of the people. The 
party knows the needs of the people better than any in- 
dividual can know them. The party sees clearly the way 
of emancipation. The party has worked out methods of 
political action. The party is therefore entitled to appeal 
to the people in times of crises and to expect their sup- 

The author of The Thing That Never Happened is 
somewhat critical of the self-confidence of the members 
of the Central Committee. " In a crowded smoky 
room,'' he says, " they discussed the question as to 
whether an armed insurrection should be started or not. 
They were sure the fate of two thousand soldiers de- 
pended upon the outcome of their discussion. They for- 
got that if people resolve to kill others, to rebel, to die, 
they do not do so because five men unknown to them 
declare It to be good, useful and necessary, but they are 
moved by a multitude of accidental causes which cannot 
be foreseen." The author is right when he emphasizes 
the fact that armed rebellions are not a result of a com- 
mittee decision; the members of the ''party,'' however, 
are also justified in their belief that the party ought to 
frame slogans and to be in the first ranks when popular 
upheavals occur. 

Thus, for the '' professional revolutionist " the party 


Is the center of the country, perhaps the center of the 
entire world. All his interests are connected with the 
party, all his ambitions are the ambitions of the party. 
The party is infinitely more than a political co-operation 
of men and women pursuing the same ends: the party is 
the home of the individual revolutionist. 

This is true not only of a leading intellectual like 
Bolotov, but also of those who are being led — the mem- 
bers of the local committees. Here Is David, the head 
of a committee In a small country town. *' David ex- 
perienced the same uneasy feeling of the head of a house- 
hold as did Bolotov," the author says. " His household, 
however, was not the party as a whole. In fact, he knew 
very little about the party: just the noisy, unimportant 
topics they were discussing in the party press. He knew 
that all over Russia there were people, dear comrades, 
who hated the same things that he hated and demanded 
the same things that he demanded. He knew, further, 
that there were committees at work In every town and 
that the committees and their ' political affairs,' as he 
deemed them, were guided from Petersburg by worthy, 
experienced and wise leaders. Those leaders he trusted 
blindly. He never questioned who they were or who gave 
them their unlimited powers. It was soothing to know 
that there was somebody In the world and that this 
' somebody ' was vigilantly guarding the interests of the 
party and would not allow them to be injured. Not know- 
ing the party, he thought It stronger, greater and purer 
than it really was. As to his household feeling he exer- 
cised it in his little town, whose local committee seemed to 
him to be a complicated, prosperous household. . . . He 
faithfully believed in the Invincible power of the party 
and, just like Bolotov, looked forward to the * day of 
storm,' as he called it, * the great day of reward.' " 

The " professional revolutionist " developed certain 
features of character quite unusual in every-day life. The 
professional revolutionist is an extreme absolutist within 


the limits of his own party. The Central Committee 
decides to remove a revolutionist from one town to an- 
other, — he silently obeys, thinking it beneficial for the 
party. A member of the Central Committee visits a 
local committee, — the members willingly follow all his 
advice. A member of the local committee orders the 
" rank and file " to carry out certain decisions — such as 
distribution of literature, strikes, manifestations, etc. — 
the orders are punctiliously carried out. The necessity 
of " conspirative secrecy '' makes the organization look 
somewhat like a military camp on the battle-front, where 
personal sympathies, emotions, tastes are put aside for 
the common cause. 

The ** professional revolutionist " is glad to adapt 
himself to this rigid discipline. Usually a high-strung 
intellectual, with a vivid imagination, he purposely curbs 
many of his desires and inclinations which might impair 
his aptitude for the party work. He disposes of all har- 
rowing questions, he simply drives them away, because 
there is no time to question fundamentals while you are 
in the midst of a fight. He shuts his eyes to the motives 
of men joining the revolution, because an insight into in- 
dividual souls may prove embarrassing in using revolu- 
tionists as " human material '' to feed the party. He 
breaks off family relations and all private connections so 
as to be free and so that he may be justified in demand- 
ing the same from others. 

" Professional revolutionists " were essentially the 
same in all the parties. Naturally, they were intolerant as 
regards other organizations. Naturally, they were 
so much wrapped up in their own painfully reared child 
— the party — that all the other parties, the revolutionary 
not excluded, were to them either Utopian, or too mod- 
erate, or even detrimental to the revolution. Hence the 
bitter factional struggles inside of the revolutionary army. 

A type of a " professional revolutionist " appears in 
Veresayev's Towards Life. Dr. Rosanov is the leader of 


the labor party and is known in revolutionary Russia. 
He is persistently searched by the police, but he never 
gives up work. When he comes to a local committee to 
" straighten out things/' he puts new life into the organi- 
zation. On his travels he has to change his appearance 
and take all kinds of precautionary measures, but he 
cannot conceal his big head, his broad shoulders, his 
deep-set, green eyes, his masterful look. 

^' I did not like this man," a member of the local com- 
mittee remarks. ** I felt he was a despot, a sectarian 
fanatic all wrapped up in factional squabbles. During 
those days, however, he suddenly grew to be a tribune. 
The soul of the crowd was in his hands, as a wild horse 
in the hands of its rider. When he mounted a box and 
waved his hand, the stormy sea would calm down and 
dead silence ensue. His brows were knit, his eyes aflame, 
his speech masterful. 

'* I could not make sure whether his policy was good, 
I understood nothing for the suddenness of the hurricane. 
Yet his iron will conquered me as it conquered all the 
others. I followed him blindly. He could have sent us 
all to death and we would have followed, believing that 
it was the proper thing to do." 

Dr. Rosanov looks upon the local committees as upon 
so many families of his children, and their members 
are to him brothers and sisters. Here he finds in the 
room of one of the revolutionists Nietzsche's Birth of 
Tragedy^ and is unpleasantly surprised. Reading 
Nietzsche is not a thing that befits an active revolutionist. 
Reading Nietzsche indicates that a man is groping in 
the dark, that he is dissatisfied with the solution his 
party gives to the most vital problems. Dr. Rosanov 
treats a reader of Nietzsche as a patient who has be- 
come afflicted with a contagious disease. To him all 
problems are settled. Doubts and queries affect him as 
unwelcome, disturbing nonsense. 

And yet, being a professional revolutionist did not 


make an intellectual immune against doubts and spiritual 
dramas. One of those dramas is the subject of Vere- 
sayev's Towards Life, Kostya is certainly a beautiful 
specimen of the professional revolutionist. He addresses 
mass-meetings on factory premises, feeling as if he were 
scattering handfuls of seeds which instantly turned into 
'* glorious flowers of brotherhood and young, creative 
hatred." He calls for general strikes, and the movement 
grows under his hands. He bravely faces an attack of 
Cossacks on a gathering of workingmen in the woods 
where he has been speaking. He writes proclamations 
which are distributed through the town to instigate the 
revolutionary movement. He writes in his diary : ** It 
is wonderful to live! The waves are rising ever 

Kostya is young and strong. Kostya is very gifted. 
He is a powerful orator and very clever at debates with 
opponents. He is quite indifferent to dangers. He feels 
with every fiber that single individuals are of no great 
value, that '* something tremendous exists, some common 
cause." " Let the horses trample over my wounded body 
to-morrow, it Is nothing," he thinks, without humility or 

He is on the crest of a high wave of revolutionary un- 
rest as well as of feverish personal energy. And in the 
midst of it all he feels as it were a mass of strange mon- 
sters crawling within him, lifting their flat, trembhng 
heads. Questions stir his mind, ages old, grave questions 
take possession of him. 

'*Why live?" 

" I look at those two words," he writes, *' and I am 
almost ashamed. They seem so naive and trite, like the 
production of a high-school boy. But this is the dreadful 
part of it. They look funny not because the answer is 
unknown to high-school boys only, but because only high- 
school boys still hope to obtain an answer. There Is no 
answer. Yet people go on living." 


"Why live?'' 

** I asked the thinkers, the creators," Kostya writes. 
**What could they give me? The fighters, the saints, 
the creators, they have lived and they always will live 
in their gropings, in their pains, in the ecstasy of vic- 
tories and the tragedy of defeats. But how about the 
little people, the insignificant ones? How about the 
human weeds ? Why should they live ? Everybody does 
live. There must be something common to all. It is 
impossible that the meaning of the life of different peo- 
ple should be incommensurable." 

Kostya loses the taste for life. He cannot understand 
how people continue living with this question unsolved. 
Why live ? Why do the drudgery of life day in, day out? 
Kostya visits his friends of the working-class. They are 
poor, but they are so firmly planted on the ground, they 
possess so much self-suflSciency, they seem to know the 
meaning of it all. They look forward, they believe in 
the future. 

" What does it matter if somebody will be happy in 
the future?" Kostya asks. "That does not make life 
easier. Still they live. What for?" Isn't it better 
that all human beings should make an end to their 
lives ? 

In the further development of his mental crisis Kostya 
begins to doubt the efficiency of the instrument through 
which he expects to find a solution. He is horrified to 
discover that his reason is not an independent, reliable 
entity. Reason! It changes with the substance of the 
brain, with the coincidence of circumstances. Reason is 
dictated by the subconsciousness. How can he com- 
mand it? 

Kostya's tragedy widens. He cannot act. He is para- 
lyzed. He is in the grip of some evil spirit. 

" I have lost myself. I have utterly lost myself, like 
a needle in dry grass. Where am I? What am I? I 
feel my soul has left me. My soul has torn itself from 


my consciousness, it has sunk into the depths. Something 
stretches Its tentacles out of the dark, taking hold of my 
brain, my poor powerless brain incapable of life. My 
body has become strange to me. 

"Where am I?, Where is my own self? Where is 
my freedom, my self-causality? Is it in that which thinks, 
which is aware of itself — in my * reason ' ? But why are 
all its independent thoughts so meager and lifeless, why 
are the words born by it so dry and limited? Only when 
gripped by these strange tentacles out of the dark does it 
become alive. The tighter the grip of the tentacles, the 
deeper my reason becomes, the more active it is. Thought 
becomes bright, full of creative power, words are lumi- 
nous with a thrilling sense. 

"Am I there, in the darkness, in the depths? Yet I 
know there is a dark slave there, I feel it now clearly. 
The mighty Master of my consciousness is the slave of 
a Ruler whom I do not know. The Ruler reigns over It, 
over humanity, over the whole of life. He is stern and 
implacable, the King of all powers ! " 

In agony, in torment Kostya exclaims : " I do not want 
It ! I cannot accept it ! In the grip of the clutching ten- 
tacles of my Master-slave, in the darkness enveloping me, 
I cry to thee. Unknown, to thee. Ruler of mine and of my 
Master: I do not want It! I am freel I shall not 
submit! " 

But over and over again the torment of these problems 
takes hold of the man, and he is shattered. Things lose 
their interest for him. His work, which is part of his 
life. Is under question like the totality of his life. What 
does a speech, a revolutionary pamphlet, a strike amount 
to in the face of those eternal questions? Here his com- 
rades are discussing the May-day celebration ; young and 
old women have been embroidering flags the night 
through; the worklngmen are as active and assured as 
ever. But Kostya refuses to participate in the celebration. 
Some of his comrades suspect he Is afraid of being 


arrested, but the truth is that he is indifferent to every- 

*' With envy I listen to their speeches,'* he writes. 
*' There is something momentous about them, something 
earnest and full of meaning, while within my soul every- 
thing is dried up, for me life has withdrawn from these 
matters they are discussing. Only words remain, hack- 
neyed old words, nauseatingly boresome.'' 

Kostya tries to follow the philosophy of " carpe diem," 
to drown his anguish in sensual pleasures, but he never 
can deaden the worm that gnaws at the roots of his very 

Kostya is on the verge of suicide. People of a weaker 
mental constitution might have succumbed to their de- 
spair. Kostya survives. After severe struggles, after 
having changed his mode of life and his surroundings, he 
feels again the lure of life. He puts aside all these poig- 
nant problems. He discovers the simple yet infinitely sig- 
nificant truth that when a person has the keen sensation 
of life, all queries " Why live " seem artificial and aca- 
demic. Kostya awakens one evening to feel the genuine 
taste for life. He is in a beautiful valley where nature 
weaves the endless fabric of life. Everything breathes, 
everything is saturated with the joy of life, drinking life 
from the ground, from the air, from infinity. A holy 
mystery of life is being celebrated in the green valley 
under the red rays of a mild setting sun. 

Kostya has found himself. It happens as unexpectedly 
and seemingly as much without reason, as his former 
discovery of his Master, the slave of the Unknown. 
Kostya is again filled with the thrill of desire for action. 
He will return to his comrades. He will put his hand to 
the common cause, which to him has become doubly 
precious. He has proved to himself that he has the 
power to stand the hardest of all tests, to win victory 
over himself. 

Not all intellectuals, however, are of the same elastic 


material. The main hero of the Blooming Apple-Trees 
by O. Mirtov proved to be of small use to his party. He 
was driven into the revolutionary ranks not by desire to 
serve his people or to see beauty triumphant in human 
relations, but by dread. An out and out individualist, he 
was always centered in himself, and the feeling that has 
haunted him from his early youth is fear of death. '' I 
feel as if I were sentenced to death," he says to his old 
friend. He felt as if everything was slowly dying, — his 
relatives, his friends, nature. Death was narrowing its 
circle around him, his brain was burning, his nerves 
a-tremble. To save himself from insanity he flees to 
Petersburg and joins the revolutionary party, whose pro- 
gram and purposes are irrelevant to him. He has a last 
hope that readiness to give away his life in the service of 
the party will save him from his dread. 

" I have done work for them,'' he tells later In a derisive 
tone. ** They said I had * capacity for work.' Sometimes 
I upset them by my absent-mindedness, but they readily 
forgave me, though absent-mindedness is a great sin in 
their occupation. They found I had a precious quality, 
endurance. Kostya even went so far as to say I had the 
ability to do more than carry out orders. In reality, I 
had no abilities whatsoever. I had been subject to fits 
of melancholy from my childhood on, and this was a 
way of curing myself in the wheel of life. The dread of 
death had thrown me into the wheel. This, however, I 
realized only later, when I was in prison. At that time 
I still did not know myself. It was only that I was afraid 
to be thrown out of the wheel ; I closed my eyes and did 
everything. Whether I closed my eyes consciously or 
unconsciously does not matter. Yet this is my fault. 
This only. In fact, I was dead . . . notwithstanding 
my indignation which sometimes rose to a pitch of hatred, 
notwithstanding my energy. The fact is, I welcomed 
my indignation, I stimulated my emotions, which saved 
me from the problem of death. . . . To die quietly, 


here In my quiet garden, the thought was dreadful to me. 
To die in a crowd, in the streets, if that happened, yes! 
but not there. This is the reason I created a life that 
gave me no time to think. I ran myself to exhaustion, 
so as to fall and momentarily sink into sleep. In a purely 
mechanical way I freed myself from the clutches of de- 
spair. I lived among those people, disguised in their 
garb. I rushed forward as if running down a mountain, 
never looking back, never able to stop. I found pleasure 
in my work, in this impetuous rush. I forgot myself, I 
did not know myself, I gladly let myself be hypnotized 
by the word ' freedom.' So much was my conscience 
already prepared, that I admitted theoretically the right 
to kill those who stood in the way of the people. . . . 
And then . . . the lot fell upon me to kill a man. 

*' I submitted. My first thought, my first consideration 
was that if I would not do it, somebody else would have 
to do it, and I had no right to impose my fate on others. 
This was all I thought of the subject. Somehow I man- 
aged not to think. When it flashed through my mind that 
I was going to die, I said to myself that death was in- 
evitable sooner or later, and that it was better to die in 
a heroic exploit. This was my only answer to myself. 
The sensation of a hero saving his Fatherland and the 
sensation of a hangman were united in me. I was very 
energetic, even ingenious, in the preparatory work. I 
am ashamed of it now. How inconceivable a man can 
be! I remember how carefully I dressed half an hour 
before the catastrophe. . . . This was also part of the 
program. I had to be elegant. I remember that I re- 
moved a tiny feather from my sleeve and carefully scruti- 
nized my black frock coat, as a hangman would scrutinize 
his new red blouse. I was so much absorbed by those 
salutary particulars that I even forgot what I was going 
to do. Only the revolver recalled it to my mind. 

*' It was the poise of a corpse. /, my real /, did not 
exist. I remember the great agitation in Kostya's face 


when he shook hands with me for the last time. I was 
calm. The feelings of a judge, a hero, and a hangman 
were intertwined inseparably within me and deadened my 
souL Not only did I play my role exceedingly well, I 
seemed to have become a new man. 

*' It happened in the theater. All the time I was look- 
ing at him from a distance, he did not exist in my mind 
as a human being. He was only a target I beheld before 
taking aim. I waited for the fixed moment, and when 
I saw him moving, I calmly rose to my feet and followed. 
As I was told by somebody, I stopped behind his back. 
I was not told what to do by the comrades; no, I was left 
to myself at that moment, I had to act according to my 
own initiative, my own understanding of the situation. 
This spoiled their undertaking. When I saw the white 
line of his collar, the warm back of his neck, fat and 
flabby, when I felt the warmth of the neck, he suddenly 
became alive, . . . He began to exist in himself, quite 
apart from what he had done and what I was going to 
kill him for. In front of me was the back of his neck. I 
looked, my hand in my pocket. . . . The hangman looked. 
My consciousness was split in two, as it were. I caught 
the sound of his voice. He was speaking to somebody. I 
cannot describe what I was feeling. I know just this, 
that / went through the experience of killing. I experi- 
enced the thing which had to happen yet never did, owing 
perhaps, to the mere fact that it so clearly happened in 
my imagination. I felt an unspeakable disgust and dread 
at the thought that death was emanating from me. I 
had done the killing, I had done it by a supreme effort 
of my imagination. Now I know why nearly everybody 
can kill in war and almost nobody — this way. In war 
you have no time to feel the warmth of his neck. . . . 
I do not know how long it lasted, I remember I took out 
the revolver.* When I came to, I was in the hands of 
those who had seized me. My first feeling was happiness. 

* Not to fire, however. M. O. 


I was happy — I had killed nobody. He was alive. I 
saw him. My whole life changed at that moment. For 
the first time I experienced the real joy of life." 

This is an extreme case. Not every intellectual in the 
ranks of the revolution had to commit terrorist acts. 
Yet this case is characteristic as regards the motives that 
drove hosts of intellectuals into the revolutionary parties. 
To be a professional revolutionist required as much talent 
and vocation, as any other responsible profession, and 
this only a few possessed in a satisfactory degree. All 
the others were more or less amateurs, undergoing all 
the hardships and disappointments amateurs are exposed 
to. There was a time when nearly every intellectual, for 
one reason or another, felt induced to help the revolu- 
tionary parties. Grave trials lay in wait for those who 
were not fit. 


The history of the terrorist attempts is one of the 
most dramatic chapters in the history of the revolution, 
and offers the richest material for psychological studies. 
In it the romanticism of the revolutionary movement, the 
personal qualities of the revolutionists, the deepest inner 
conflicts appear as under a magnifying-glass. 

The general characteristics of the terrorist type 
changed in the course of the revolution. The first terror- 
ists, of the parties " Land and Freedom '^ and ** Peo- 
ple's Freedom'* (in the 'seventies and early 'eighties), 
were persons of a high spiritual beauty, gifted with 
an extreme sensitiveness to the sufferings of the peo- 
ple, and living in a world of pure religious joy. The 
history of the men and women who planned and accom- 
plished the assassination of Alexander II on March i, 
1 88 1, is a history of ecstatic souls and adamant wills, with 
not a selfish thought and incapable of an instant of fear. 
The first terrorists of the beginning of the twentieth cen- 
tury, resuming the traditions of '' Land and Freedom " 
after an intermission of about twenty years, resembled 
in many respects their predecessors of the 'seventies and 
'eighties. Those terrorists were volunteers in the real 
sense of the word: they acted out of inner compulsion; 
their terrorist undertakings were the expression of a 
spontaneous moral elevation which made it impossible 
for them to witness the sufferings of the people and the 
baseness of the rulers without immediate response. At 
any rate, they acted under no compulsion from without. 
Later, when the revolutionary movement broadened and 
the Socialist-Revolutionary Party made terrorism part of 



its program, which meant the creation of terroristic or- 
ganizations, the type of the terrorist began to deteriorate. 
Young boys and girls with no high moral qualifications 
either made attempts on government officials single- 
handed, following the current of revolutionary excitement, 
or they joined the organization of terrorists, sometimes 
from mere motives of imitation, sometimes under moral 
pressure of their party colleagues, who thought partici- 
pation in terrorist attempts the highest manifestation of 
voluntary spirit. The number of terrorists grew, their 
quality went down. Single-handed terrorists, when ar- 
rested and frightened by the gendarmes, often showed a 
lack of moral courage. Party terrorists, drawing salaries 
from the party treasury and spending idle months in wait- 
ing for a chance, turned out to be a very awkward sort of 
professionals. True, there were beautiful exceptions, 
among whom Ivan Kalyayev, the assassin of Grand Duke 
Sergius Alexandrovitch, the uncle of Nicholas II, stands 
out as an example. In general, however, the terrorist 
organization became a sort of aristocratic division of the 
Socialist-Revolutionary Party, its members looking upon 
themselves as revolutionary supermen and permitting 
themselves liberties condemned in ordinary life. 

Still later, when the revolution was defeated and the 
white terror set in, the *' expropriations '^ began. An 
expropriation was an armed attack of a number of indi- 
viduals on a bank, a post-office, a store, sometimes a pri- 
vate residence, with the aim of " getting " money. The 
first expropriations were made by sincere revolutionists 
who meant to fill the treasury of their organization so as 
to facilitate the revolutionary work. Their example, how- 
ever, was followed by individuals who were scarcely able 
to draw the line between public and private interests; and 
soon adventurers and all sorts of hunters for easy money 
joined in. The overwhelming majority of the expropria- 
tions had nothing to do with the revolution, yet their 
participants claimed to-be revolutionists and to have acted 


under the control of an organization. Spies and agents 
provocateurs found their way into the ranks of the expro- 
priators, and the reputation of terrorism fell very low. 
Later it was found out that even at the blooming-period 
of the terrorist organization of the Socialist-Revolution- 
ary Party it harbored a traitor, Azev, who was simul- 
taneously the head of the organization and a secret agent 
in the service of the Police Department. There is no 
doubt that the terrorist groups were a favorable medium 
for treachery. 

However, many terrorist acts played an important part 
in the development of the revolution. There were cases 
of terrorist attempts whose political significance not even 
the opponents of terrorism (such as were the Social- 
Democratic organizations) could deny. The assassination 
of Von Plehve started the " Era of Spring.'' The assassi- 
nation of Grand Duke Sergius Alexandrovitch, on Febru- 
ary 4, 1905, made a tremendous impression in the country 
and abroad. The attempts on officials notorious for their 
cruelty satisfied the public sense of justice and created 
uneasiness in the ranks of the administration. The gov- 
ernment, in its turn, hated the terrorists more than any 
other revolutionists, and wreaked wholesale vengeance 
upon them. Many an act which in times of peace would 
have been punished by a term of imprisonment was im- 
placably avenged by death. The death chambers of the 
Russian prisons in 1906-08 saw scores of innocent men 
and women who had nothing to do with any terrorist acts 
blindly sacrificed on the altar of an infuriated autocratic 

We shall quote here letters written by revolutionists 
who had been sentenced to death. Hardly any other doc- 
uments give a better account of the mental processes of 
the fighters than these letters written on the threshold 
of death. 

Leo Cohan-Bernstein was hanged in Siberia on August 
7, 1889. He was sentenced to death, together with two 


other revolutionists, for having resisted the administra- 
tion's attempt to transfer him and a number of his fellow- 
exiles from Yakutsk to a more dreary and desolate place 
of exile. The guards had opened fire on the resisting 
revolutionists, six were killed, many wounded; the rest 
were tried and three put to death. 
From his death chamber he writes: 

*' Yakutsk, August 6, 1889. 

'^ My dear^ dear friends and comrades: 

** I am not sure I shall be able to say good-by to you. 
There is almost no hope. In my mind, however, I have 
said good-by to all of you. All this time I have deeply 
felt your warm, sympathetic attitude toward me. I have 
only a little longer to live. 

*' Let us take leave of each other, dear friends and 
comrades, and let our last farewell be lit by the hope of a 
better future for our poor, poor motherland which lies 
so close to our heart. Not one atom of power has ever 
been lost in the universe. Not one human life can be lost 
in vain. Do not deplore human life. Let the dead take 
care of the dead — you have a whole life ahead of you, a 
moral, arduous life, sublime in communion with your 
suffering motherland! Do not say or think that your 
life is lost, that it will pass in useless suffering and torture, 
in prison-cell and exile. To suffer the pain of your 
motherland, to be a living denunciation of all the fiends 
of darkness and evil, is a great task. Even if it be your 
last service, what of it? We have brought our share to 
the altar of the struggle for the people's freedom. Who 
knows, perhaps you will live to see the great moment 
when our liberated motherland will meet her faithful, 
loving and beloved children with open arms and celebrate 
with you the great holiday of freedom. 

*' When this time comes, remember us in love. 

" This will be our greatest reward for all our trials. 


Let this great hope always be with you, as It will be with 
me on the very scaffold. 

*' I kiss you ardently, with all my loving soul. 

** Altogether yours, 

" L. Bernstein. 
" Once more, farewell, dear friends. I kiss you 
heartily. Yours, 

*' Bernstein." 

This letter was written in the darkest moment of 
recent Russian history, when, under the fierce reign of 
Alexander III, which stifled the breath of the country, 
all hope of a better future seemed to have vanished. On 
the day of the execution Leo Cohan-Bernstein was still 
sick in bed from wounds he had received in the conflict 
with the guards. He was carried with his bed to the 
scaffold, and while he was lying powerless on his pillow 
they put his head into the noose. The bed was then 

Nicholas Zotov, the second of the three hanged in 
Yakutsk, wrote, a few minutes before his execution : 

" August 6/7, 3 A.M. 

** In the back yard, near the lanterns, they are already 
planting the poles. We see how our scaffolds are being 
erected. How primitive it all is! About eight in the 
evening the priest visited me. I politely declined his 
services, assuring him that, to my sorrow, I did not expect 
anything beyond this life. 

*' Genya * has just visited me for the last time. She has 
watched my last moments and will describe them to you. 
It is impossible for me now to do so myself. I feel cheer- 
ful, my mood is bright, but I am terribly tired, physically, 
as well as nervously. For the last two days my nerves 
have worked monstrously ! So many strong sensations ! 

*' Now, my dear friends, my loving ones, for the very 

*Zotov's bride. 


last time I press you to my breast! I am dying with a 
perfectly light heart, conscious that I am right, feeling 
strength in my bosom. I am only horror-stricken to think 
of the fate of my dear ones who remain. What are my 
sufferings? Only a matter of a few hours; while theirs 
will last, and they need so much strength to stand it all. 
I can think of nothing else when I look at Genya. 

*' The guards have come; they have brought prison 
clothes ; I have put them on. I am sitting in trousers and 
shirt and I am freezing (the trousers and the shirt are 
wet from the rain) . Do not think my hand trembles from 
excitement. Good-by, good-by, my dear ones. 

'* Yours to the grave, 

'' KOLYA." 

Stepan Balmashov was the student, twenty-one years 
of age, who, on April 2, 1902, assassinated the Russian 
Minister of the Interior, Sipyagin. On April 3rd he wrote 
his last letter to his parents, of whom the father had been 
a revolutionist and an exile in former years. The letter 
was written from prison (Balmashov was executed on 
May 3, 1902). Here is its text: 

** My dear ones! I seize a happy opportunity. I 
write only a few lines, hoping they will reach you. The 
event of April 2nd and my participation in it must have 
stricken you with a shock of surprise and acute pain. 

** But do not force upon me all the weight of your 
reproach! The implacable, merciless conditions of Rus- 
sian life drove me to this act, compelled me to shed human 
blood, and, what is more, to inflict upon you, in your old 
age, the sorrow of the loss of your only son. 

" How boundlessly happy I would be now, after having 
done my duty as a citizen of my country, if I were not 
depressed by the thought of your grief, your horrible 
anguish. In spite of all, in spite of the fact that my bright 
state of mind and my joyous feeling of having followed 


the inescapable imperative of my conscience are clouded 
with bitterness by the thought of your affliction, I do not 
regret what I have done. 

'* It is not necessary for me, of course, to explain to 
you the importance of a fight against the most conspicu- 
ous, the harshest representatives of the autocratic regime. 
It is not necessary for me to tell you how inevitable 
sacrifices are in this fight. The hideous conditions of 
Russian life demand not only material sacrifices, they take 
their only children away from parents. I bring my life 
as a sacrifice for the great cause of relieving those who 
work and those who are oppressed, and this, I believe, 
gives me a moral justification for the cruelty I am com- 
mitting in regard to you, my dear and beloved parents. 

** Let the thought of the importance of my act soothe 
your natural parental grief. Inclosing this, I ask only 
one thing of you, though I know it is a hard condition to 
fulfil. Whatever happens to me, please be as firm and 
calm as I am. Perhaps your calm will be transmitted to 
me through the thick prison walls and will lessen my 
anxiety for you. Yours, 

" Stepa." 

Ivan Kalyayev, the assassin of Grand Duke Sergius, 
wrote from prison : 

'^ Dear friends and comrades: 

*' You know I have done everything I could to make 
the 4th of February a victory. I am happy. I fulfilled 
a thing it was the duty of all bleeding Russia to do. 

**You know my convictions and the strength of my 
feelings, and let none of you grieve over my death. 

" I have given all of myself for the struggle of the 
working-people; there can be no concessions on my part 
to the autocracy; and if, as a result of all the endeavors 
of my life, I have been found worthy of making sublime 
protest for humanity against oppression, let my death 
crown my work through the purity of my ideal. 


" To die for one's convictions means to call others to 
fight, and whatever may be the price of eliminating autoc- 
racy, I am firmly convinced our generation will put an 
end to it forever. It will be a great victory of Socialism 
when freedom opens new vistas before the Russian people, 
before all who suffer under the centuries-old violence of 
the Tzars. 

*' I am wholly with you, my dear, my loving friends. 
You were my support in hard moments ; we always shared 
our joys and our sorrows, and if, some day, on the crest 
of the people's rejoicing, you recall my name, let all my 
revolutionary work be in your eyes the expression of my 
ecstatic love for the people and my proud adoration of 
you ; let it be the toll of my sincere devotion to our party, 
which is faithful to the traditions of * People's Freedom ' 
in every sense. 

*' Life seems a fairy tale to me; it is as if all that has 
happened to me had existed from my early years in my 
forebodings and had lurked in the recesses of my heart, 
to be poured suddenly forth in a flame of hatred and 
vengeance on behalf of all. 

'* I should like to mention by name many people who 
are close to my heart and infinitely dear to me. Let my 
last breath be a farewell greeting for them and my vigor- 
ous appeal to fight for freedom. 

*' I embrace and kiss you all. Yours, 

** L Kalyayev.'* 

To his mother Ivan Kalyayev wrote : 

^^ My dear mother: 

" My state of mind is unchanged. I am happy to know 
I acted in obedience to the call of my duty. I kept my 
conscience clear and my convictions intact. You know 
very well I had no private life; if I suffered in life, it was 
the sufferings of others. 

" It would be ridiculous to think of saving my life now, 


when my end makes me so happy. I refused to sign the 
petition for pardon, and you know why. It was not 
because I have spent all my physical and mental powers; 
on the contrary, I have preserved all that Hfe gave me 
for my last triumph in death. From my early boyhood I 
felt I was doomed, and there is nothing in my private 
life I could regret. I could not accept pardon because it 
is against my convictions. You, too, must accept my reso- 
lution with such courage as only a loving heart is capable 
of. Don't weep over me ; be happy, as if I had not parted 
from you. In reality I shall never part from you. 

" In case I do not see you personally any more — fare- 

" I think there is nobody of whom I have to beg pardon 
for personal wrongs. 

** Just now the scene of Warsaw life — the noisy streets, 
the sun overhead — unfolds before me. 

*' Greet Warsaw in my name. Farewell. 

'' Your faithful I. K.'' 

And here is a press-correspondent's account of the last 
words of a man who was killed in December, 1905, after 
the Moscow rebellion. The name of the writer is V. 

** In the course of my inquiries about the activities of 
the Semyonovski regiment along the Moscow-Kazan line," 
he writes, *^ I heard many stories about Engineer Ukhtom- 
ski, who showed heroic firmness in the last moments of 
his life. Part of this information was given by the cap- 
tain of the Semyonovski regiment which executed him in 
Lubertzy, together with three other workingmen. The 
captain, who observed him in his last moments, was 
charmed by his personality; the soldiers felt a deep rever- 
ence for him, their esteem being expressed in the fact 
that after the first volley he remained untouched. Not 
one bullet had grazed him. 

" His appearance was in no way striking. Of medium 


height, with vivid, clever eyes, he gave the impression of 
a very modest, almost bashful, man. 

" It was a mere accident that he fell into the hands of 
the punitive expedition. He was traveling in a carriage, 
when he stopped in the Lubertzy inn, ignorant of the 
presence of soldiers at the station. He was searched and 
a revolver was found in his pocket, which caused his 
arrest. He was brought before the officer in charge. 

** Questioned as to his name, he refused to reveal it. 
The officer went over the lists and the photographs of 
the revolutionists, comparing them with the live original 
before him. Then he exclaimed: 

*^ * You are Engineer Ukhtomski; you will be shot! ' 

" * I thought so,' Ukhtomski answered coolly. 

** This happened in the afternoon, about three o'clock. 
He was asked whether he did not want to take the com- 
munion, and expressed his desire to do so. 

" After the communion he was taken, together with 
three workingmen of the Lubertzy brake-factory, to the 
place of execution. He made the following statement, 
addressing the officer: 

** * I knew that, once In your hands, I should be shot; 
I was prepared for death, and that is why I am so calm. 
Now that I am going to die, I may just as well tell you 
who it was that enabled the revolutionary train to escape 
safely from Moscow — that important train carrying the 
armed groups, the leaders and the heads of the Moscow 
rebellion, together with the members of the strike com- 

" ' It was I who operated the engine of the train, at a 
time when all the tracks were already in the hands of the 
troops and you threatened us with machine-guns near the 

*^ * It was a dangerous place, altogether barren, open 
from every side. The train was a good target for bullets, 
but I increased the speed to seventy versts an hour. I 
was myself at the levers. 

(( ( 


I increased the pressure of the steam in the boiler 
to fifteen atmospheres. The kettle was nearly bursting. 
We were in greater danger of the locomotive going to 
pieces than of being injured by your bullets. 

** * When our train was thus madly rushing onward, 
your machine-guns began to rattle. They were not dan- 
gerous to us, who were on the point of being blown into 
the air every second, or of rolling down the precipice and 
being crushed. 

" ' The experienced hand of the engineer controlled the 
steam and kept the fate of the men you were after. You 
wounded six of them, but nobody was killed. They all 
escaped. Now they are safe. You cannot reach them.' 

** At the place of execution they wanted to blindfold 
Ukhtomski. He asked the favor of meeting death 
squarely, face to face. He also refused to turn his back 
to the soldiers. 

" His casual fellow-travelers on the road of death 
begged the officer to refrain from shooting him; they went 
down on their knees, they wept. The last moment was 
dreadful ! 

" Ukhtomski silently watched the preparations, then 
turned to the soldiers, saying: 

'^ * You now face the duty of acting in accordance with 
your oath. Do it honestly, as I honestly did my duty 
in accordance with my oath. Our oaths differ ; that is all. 
. . . Please, Captain, give your command.* 

"The soldiers fired. The workingmen dropped. 
Ukhtomski was not hurt. He stood erect, arms folded 
on his breast. 

" The soldiers fired again. He fell on the snow, but 
he was still alive and fully conscious. He looked around, 
with eyes full of anguish. 

" The captain gave him the coup de grace. He fired 
a revolver through his head and thus put an end to his 
torment.'' * 

* V. Vladimirov, Punitwe Expedition, pp. 79-82. 


Life in prison was one of the phases of revolutionary 
activity. Events of prison and exile sometimes occupied 
the center of public attention and added greatly to the 
general unrest. 

The revolutionist under arrest looked upon himself as 
a political opponent of the administration and demanded 
appropriate treatment. The administration, fully aware 
of the difference between a revolutionist and an ordinary 
criminal, was still inclined to treat the revolutionist as a 
malefactor. The revolutionist thought himself a prisoner 
of wary to whom every courtesy ought to be extended. 
The administration saw in him an enemy who must be 

This led to innumerable clashes and made prison cells 
the scene of revolutionary battles. 

The number of causes was legion. The government's 
allowance for the prisoners was 7 copecks (3.5 cents) a 
day. The prices of bread being 2 to 3 copecks a pound, 
this allowance meant actual starvation. The prisoners 
were dependent upon their private means. The right to 
use private means, however, depended upon the admin- 
istration. In some prisons the purchase of food was free 
to any political prisoner in possession of money; in others 
it was limited; in still others it was forbidden. Every- 
thing depended upon the arbitrary will of the warden and 
the governor of the province. 

In some cases the prisoners were allowed to spend two 
hours daily in the open air; in some, as little as ten 
minutes. There were prisons where books were admitted 
freely; in others, nobody was allowed to have more than 




two books at a time. And there were prisons where 
reading was confined to theological books only. 

The desire to improve their condition so as not to be 
broken by the hardship of prison impelled the imprisoned 
revolutionists to struggle against severe rules. The main 
cause of struggle, however, was the demand for courtesy 
on the part of the prison-administration. 

The wardens, their assistants, the guards and the prison 
physician were wont to treat the prisoners rudely. Curses, 
swearing, a slap in the face and the contemptuous 
"thou'' (instead of the courteous *'you") were the 
common practice in dealing with criminals. This practice 
the administration was strongly tempted to extend also 
over the *' Reds." The latter, however, were ready to 
face death rather than personal insult. Prison struggles, 
therefore, became an every-day occurrence. 

The methods of struggle were various. A simultaneous 
outbreak of noise by all the prisoners was one way; a 
general destruction of the furniture and equipment of the 
cells was another; then there was the hunger-strike and 
physical resistance. At the time a fight was going on in 
prison, the revolutionary organizations outside the prison 
became uneasy; proclamations were issued; the offices of 
the governor and district attorney were stormed by rep- 
resentatives of society whose children were among the 
prisoners, and in the majority of cases the administration 

One of the struggles the author of this book took part 
in was a hunger-strike in the prison of Vilna, which oc- 
curred in the early spring of 1904 and lasted six days. 
The political prison of this city was located in an old 
castle of the Lithuanian kings,* on the banks of the river 
Vilia, In the suburb of Antokol. The construction of the 

* It was the practice of the Russian government to turn the historic 
buildings of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine into armories, arsenals, 
police stations or prisons. W^hen I served in the army, I saw the castle 
of Dubno, a beautiful piece of sixteenth-century architecture, occupied 
by an array hospital and barbarously altered. 


castle permitted no solitary cells, and the prisoners were 
located in halls, fifteen to twenty prisoners in each hall. 
The principle of solitary confinement being out of place, 
there was no sound reason why only those who happened 
to live in one cell should be allowed to communicate with 
each other. The administration, persuaded by the pris- 
oners, made it a practice to keep the doors of the cells 
open from nine in the morning till seven in the evening. 
This was convenient for the prisoners, who could thus 
group themselves according to their party affiliations, 
nationalities and personal sympathies and spend their time 
in reading or conversation or plays. It was by no means 
annoying to the administration, either, the prisoners keep- 
ing order and strictly adhering to the rules. However, 
after an attempt to escape was made by some of the pris- 
oners, the cells were locked up and the grip of the admin- 
istration tightened. 

The warden, Dunkel, had been recently promoted 
from the rank of district chief of police and was 
extraordinarily anxious to make a good record. He 
was a man of about forty, stout, ruddy, with an 
apoplectic neck and small, deeply-set, greenish-gray eyes 
in a large face. He was extremely proud of his new 
position and used to brag how high he stood in the 
opinion of the governor and how he played cards with 
the highest provincial officials. Dunkel was the typical 
administrator : quick-tempered, standing no contradiction, 
believing himself very efficient, very farsighted, while in 
reality he was mercilessly led about by the nose by his 
assistant. Dunkel had a habit of punishing his criminal 
prisoners with his own hands. More than once I saw him 
beating a criminal, slapping his face with all his force 
and hitting him under the ribs, while the guards respect- 
fully waited in the distance. Observations warranted our 
belief that Dunkel experienced a physical pleasure in beat- 
ing others. As to the revolutionists, he hated them for 
their independence and moral courage. After the cells 



had been locked up, he became impertinent with the 
political prisoners, and his attitude was challenging. 

We decided to accept the challenge. We worked out 
a list of demands, chief among them being the unlocking 
of the cells, open-air exercise two hours daily and polite 
treatment. In case of refusal, a hunger-strike was 

Dunkel appeared in the prison, red with excitement, 
panting and swearing. He went from cell to cell, remind- 
ing us we were prisoners, not patients in a first-class sani- 
tarium, threatening to throw the ringleaders into the 
underground dungeon and, if necessary, to tie us hand 
and foot. We were silent. It had been decided before- 
hand that we should have no argument with the warden. 

The following morning the hunger-strike began. We 
threw out of the windows and the grate doors all the 
edibles in our possession. The portions brought in the 
morning we refused to accept. The strike lasted six full 
days. All the prisoners, over a hundred in number, par- 
ticipated, and our endurance was crowned with success. 

Dunkel yielded to all our demands. Life in prison was 
again tolerable. 

Up to the beginning of 1906 most prisons represented 
little revolutionary communities where principles of equal- 
ity and mutual aid were maintained. In the prison of 
Kiev, in 1903, we had " communal ownership '' of food, 
clothes and books. Everything received by a prisoner 
from his relatives (excluding flowers and sweets) were 
given over to the " community " and shared alike hy all 
prisoners. In this manner there were no ^' rich " or 
" poor ** among the inmates. In the prison of Vilna, in 
1904, we had our own community kitchen, which fed all 
the prisoners, Irrespective of their contributions to the 
community. The revolutionary *^ Red Cross,'' an auxil- 
iary organization comprising mainly intellectuals not ac- 
tive in the parties, provided the prisoners with money and 


No fear of prison ever prevented a criminal from com- 
mitting a crime, the criminologists say. This was true 
also in regard to the revolutionists. Arrests, imprison- 
ments and exile were looked upon by the revolutionists as 
part of their activities, a continuation of their revolution- 
ary struggles, and prison-walls had by no means a fright- 
ening effect. There were categories of party members 
who were almost glad to land in the quiet haven of the 
cell. Such were the professional revolutionists and the 
uneducated workingmen. 

The professional revolutionist lived all the time under 
a severe strain. He bore the responsibility for the entire 
organization, national or local; he had under his super- 
vision a number of circles, groups, brotherhoods, single 
individuals, with their various characters and problems; 
he had to think of ** steps," manifestations, strikes, organ- 
izers, agitators, speakers, proclamations. And all the 
time he was haunted by the fear of spies, not through 
personal cowardice, but in the interests of the organiza- 
tion. All the time he had to hide, to disguise himself, to 
take precautionary measures. When at last he was seized 
— if only his organization remained half-way intact — it 
was a pleasure for him to relax, to get rid of all his 
worries, to have more time for careful, systematic read- 
ing. '* To take a vacation," it was called in revolutionary 
circles. The trial never worried the revolutionist much, 
because he knew beforehand that after his term of one or 
two years in prison he would be sent to Siberia, whence 
he would flee at the first opportunity, to join the revolu- 
tionary movement. His prison time he used for medita- 
tion and for study of the problems, social and political, 
that interested him most. 

As to the ordinary workingman who was not a profes- 
sional revolutionist, for him prison had another attrac- 
tion. The first acquaintance with revolutionary ideas 
usually invoked in the workingman an insatiable appetite 
for knowledge. Under prevailing circumstances, where 


the conducting of evening-classes for adults was consid- 
ered a political offense and the revolutionary reading- 
circles were under strict surveillance, the workingmen had 
almost no chance to get education. Besides, work in the 
factory in daytime and in the organization in the evening 
hardly left time for self-instruction. In prison the work- 
ingman had free board, free time and ardent teachers In 
the revolutionary intellectuals. Many prisons were turned 
into preparatory schools for agitators. In the Vilna 
prison, in 1904, we had two classes, each consisting of 
ten to fifteen workingmen: one for beginners, the other 
for more advanced pupils. The subjects were: Political 
Economy, Principles of Sociology, the History of Civiliza- 
tion, Parliamentary Systems in Theory and Practice and 
the History of the Revolutionary Movement in Russia, 
besides discussions on current political events and party 
tactics conducted in the presence of all the prisoners. The 
prison-community had regular connections with the local 
revolutionary organizations, and the new revolutionary 
publications as a rule reached the prisoners sooner than 
the public at large. The revolutionary writers had a 
chance to participate from prison in their party-organs. 

This idyllic felicity, interrupted by storms of protests 
and violent convulsions, lasted till October-November, 
1905, when most of the prisons were opened by the revo- 
lution. The overwhelming majority of the prisoners — 
except those charged with terrorism or similar actions — 
were freed. For a short while the prisons remained 
vacant. When they filled again their aspect was com- 
pletely changed. 

The upheaval of 1905-06 drove hosts of heterogeneous 
people into the revolution, and the arrests of the oncom- 
ing counter-revolution were also made among all classes. 
The prison inmates of 1906-08 were no longer the old- 
time revolutionists who had gone through the school of 
party-work and been hardened in revolutionary practice. 
Neither were they as well prepared to defend their human 


dignity. One provincial prison in 1907 contained a few 
score of peasants who had taken part in the looting of a 
prince's estate; a number of workingmen just taken from 
the street, many of them without party affiliation; five or 
six post-office clerks, several bookkeepers, book-shop 
clerks, newsboys, three editors, several writers, one lawyer 
very well known in the community, two physicians, a priest, 
several soldiers, one pharmacist, a number of women of 
all professions and all walks of life, and even one gen- 
eral. All these people had no moral bond, were under 
control of no organization, were unable to speak a com- 
mon language or to come to an understanding as regards 
concerted action. They were actually at the mercy of 
the prison administration. 

On the other hand, the old-time respect for the prison- 
ers on the part of the administration had disappeared. 
These *' Reds " were no longer dreamers, queer chaps, 
talking impossible things and cherishing crazy theories. 
They had become a menace I They had been on the brink 
of overthrowing the existing order ! They were danger- 
ous enemies. They had to be treated accordingly. The 
administration abruptly changed front. No more leni- 
ence ; no more liberties. The rules became rigid, the dis- 
cipline merciless. Prisoners had to jump up from their 
seats at the approach of a superior; to keep ** eyes front," 
to answer in a military fashion, ** We wish health to 
your Excellency! *' No ** communities," no readings, no 
kitchens, no '' Red Cross " aid were tolerated any 

The number of prisoners increased, their situation be- 
came worse. Corporal punishment, the dungeon, chains, 
a diet of bread and water became permanent features of 
prison life. At times the prisoners revolted; then military 
force was summoned, prisoners were fired upon and many 
subsequently tried by court-martial. The death chambers 
were nearly always occupied, and the prisoners witnessed 
the construction of scaffolds in the prison-yards and the 


hanging of their comrades before dawn. In many pris- 
ons mediaeval tortures became part of the practice. Rus- 
sian autocracy was taking revenge for the moment of its 

In 19 10- 1 1 the Russian prisons were a physical and 
moral Inferno. 

Siberia was a prison of vast dimensions. Revolutionists 
were sent there, either to work in the houses of correction 
or to be under police control for several years (usually 
not more than five) or for life. The inmates of the houses 
of correction wore chains and were treated exactly like 
the criminals. After the expiration of their term they 
were not allowed to return to Russia, but had to stay in 
Siberia under police control. Those who were under 
police control were not allowed to leave their town or 
village and had to report at the police station every day. 
The exiles were entirely at the mercy of the local admin- 
istration, which, in Siberia, is more backward than in 
European Russia. 

As a rule the exiles were not kept in towns near the 
railroad, lest they should escape and return to Russia. 
The towns of exile were often chosen hundreds of miles 
from a civilized center. The most serious revolutionists 
were sent to Yakutsk, in the far Northeast, about 1,100 
miles from the last railroad station, Irkutsk. Communi- 
cation with Yakutsk is possible only through the Lena 
River during certain months of the year. Still other revo- 
lutionists were sent to places located several hundred 
miles from Yakutsk. The mail reaches those places three 
or four times a year. 

Life in the little Siberian villages or towns with a few 
hundred, sometimes a few score, native inhabitants, was 
dreary and full of privation. The arbitrariness of the 
administration was sometimes intolerable. Exiles were 
not allowed to go out hunting in the woods or to visit 
friends in neighboring towns. Oftentimes they were not 
allowed to give instruction to the children of the natives 


or to get employment in public offices. The demeanor of 
the police was harsh and challenging. 

To reach the place of destination it took the prisoners 
months. From the Central Prison in Moscow they trav- 
eled in railroad-cars, under the escort of soldiers, to 
Irkutsk. On their way they stopped for weeks in various 
prisons. From Irkutsk they had to go on foot hundreds 
of miles to their place of exile, stopping over night in local 
prison stations. All the time they were under the guard 
of soldiers and subject to very harsh treatment. Yet 
their only thought and their only hope was to escape. 
Many accomplished this on the road before reaching 
their place of destination. Others fled from the place 
after having made the necessary preparations. 

To flee from a village, a friend of mine had to ride on 
horseback six hundred miles through the primordial for- 
ests of Siberia before he reached Irkutsk. He spent ten 
days in the forest. His guide and companion was a crim- 
inal who had fled from the house of correction. Both 
were armed with rifles and neither trusted the other. The 
criminal was anxious to get hold of my f riend^s belongings 
and his (forged) passport. It was a dangerous, nerve- 
racking game those two played all the time. My friend 
never slept, spending nights in a sitting position and 
always, even in a half doze, watching his companion. A 
strong man, with great muscular and nervous power, he 
was in a state of delirium toward the end of the journey. 
He had hallucinations. He talked to himself. When 
riding a few yards ahead of his guide he abruptly turned 
his head, he would see him pointing his rifle at his neck. 
This was repeated several times. The two lived by hunt- 
ing, and by the time they reached Irkutsk they were nearly 
starved. In Irkutsk my friend disguised himself as a rich 
Siberian merchant, and after a series of adventures 
reached Smolensk, where he again entered the revolu- 
tionary organization. A few months later we were neigh- 
bors in prison. 


Those who remained in Siberia for a longer term 
devoted their time to studies, and many a revolutionist 
returned from exile a well-read man. 

After the storms of 1905-06 the situation of the exile 
changed for the worse. Cases of suicide among the exiles, 
some as a protest against intolerable treatment, shocked 
the entire country. 

MARCH, 19 17 


"Notwithstanding the efforts people made to dis- 
figure the portion of land on which they were crowded; 
notwithstanding the stones they were hammering into it 
to prohibit vegetation; notwithstanding the cleaning away 
of every grass-blade that sprang up, the cutting of trees 
and the banishing of birds and beasts; notwithstanding 
the spreading of coal and naphtha smoke — still, spring 
was spring, even in town. . . . The grass, reviving, 
burst forth and grew green wherever it had not been 
scraped away." 

This description by Tolstoi can be fairly applied to 
conditions in Russia after 1907. Autocracy was making 
every effort to tame the spirit of freedom, to exterminate 
all manifestations of social or political activity on the part 
of the people, to thrust the masses into lethargy. Yet 
times had changed, and notwithstanding its strenuous 
efforts, the Russian government could not stop the growth 
and development of social forces. 

This, however, became evident only a few years after 
the great upheaval. In the days of despair that followed 
the collapse of the revolution, it seemed that the social 
forces of Russia had been weakened for many years to 
come, and that the country was entering a long, dreary 
period of political and social stagnation. 

The material gains of the revolution for the various 
classes amounted to naught. 

The peasants had received no land. The law of No- 
vember 9, 1906, making it possible for the individual 
peasant to receive his share of land in private property 
and thus to become free from the inconveniences of the 


36o MARCH, 19 17 

village community, had not increased the land-fund of the 
peasantry as a class. The government hastened to put 
the law of November 9th into practice. With unprece- 
dented rapidity it established land-regulation boards all 
over the country, urging the peasants to take advantage 
of the new " freedom '* and giving aid to those breaking 
away from the community. Great numbers of peasants 
seized the opportunity. Within a few years a remarkable 
change in the forms of peasant land-ownership took place 
— a change amounting almost to a revolution. Yet the 
removal of legal obstacles alone was not sufficient to 
make the peasants more prosperous. The newly created 
individual farmer had to fence his farm-land; he had to 
build a house on the spot (living in the old house in the 
village street made it difficult for him to guard his crops 
and generally to manage his estate) ; he had to introduce 
new methods of cultivation, new rotations of crops, new 
ways of cattle breeding; he had, in short, to become a new 
man on his new piece of land. This was not impossible, 
but it required money, special knowledge and time. And 
though the ** individualists '* were usually the better situ- 
ated peasants, they were hardly able to improve their 
husbandry in a short time. The transition to private 
land-ownership was a step forward to a better economic 
future, no doubt, but the fruits of this transition could 
be reaped only after long years of able and patient work 
under the wise guidance of an efficient government. 

The law of November 9th was intended to accelerate 
the process of differentiation in the village. It had to 
create a class of well-to-do individualistic farmers, con- 
servative adherents of law and order, to counterbalance 
the economic radicalism manifested by the members of 
the village community. The immediate result was only 
one-sided. While the felicity of the prospective " aris- 
tocracy " still remained a question of the future, the in- 
creasing number of paupers became a menace for the 
present. The poorer peasants could make only one use 

The Vale of Mourning 
After the Revolution of 1905 


of their " freedom " from the community — they could 
sell their land. This they did, the purchasers usually 
being not their fellow-peasants, but the village sharks, 
the exploiters of the community. Thus the differentiation 
resulted in hopes of prosperity for one pole of the village 
and in real destitution for the other. 

As to the bulk of the peasantry, they neither quit the 
community, nor did they sell their land. Now, as before, 
they had to live on their agricultural work and to derive 
their income from their barren, exhausted '* strips." 
Their situation was by no means better than before the 
revolution. Famine became almost a constant feature of 
Russian rural life. Millions starved even in years of 
good crops. Twenty millions of peasants had not enough 
bread to feed themselves and their families in 1911-12, 
and eight millions were receiving hunger rations from the 
administration (thirty pounds of flour per capita 
monthly). The number of famine-stricken provinces in 
1911-12 was twenty, and the appropriations for the feed- 
ing of the starving peasants amounted to over 120 mil- 
lions of rubles. 

The peasants had no reason to be happier now than 
before 1905. 

The industrial workingmen had obtained no right to 
organize for the defense of their economic interests. 
The revolution had left them a meager right to form 
labor unions, but, legally, the unions had to confine them- 
selves to mutual aid or to educational work only, the con- 
ducting of strikes and collective bargaining with employ- 
ers being strictly forbidden. In most cases the practice 
of the administration made even this limited right illusory. 
Practically, no labor organization for whatever purpose 
was tolerated. Over and over again the workingnien of 
the various trades in Petersburg and elsewhere tried to 
form organizations and to bring order into the chaos of 
the labor-movement, and everywhere, sooner or later, 
under one pretext or another, their efforts were frustrated 

362 MARCH, 1917 

by the administration. At the same time the economic 
position of the workingmen became worse. The gains 
in shorter work-days and higher wages obtained in the 
course of the revolution were slipping out of their hands; 
organized capital was facing them as one solid front, 
while their own forces were scattered and shattered and 
the cost of living was rapidly growing.* In 19 12 a law 
providing for sick-funds and accident-compensation for 
industrial workingmen was enacted, the funds to be 
formed partly by deductions from the employees' wages, 
partly by contributions of the employers. The law in 
itself might have been of great value for the workingmen, 
but the practice of the administration allowing no meet- 
ings and no speeches in connection with the sick-funds, 
suppressing publications and often arresting the labor- 
representatives elected by their comrades to conduct the 
affairs of the funds, made the new law a source of annoy- 
ance and bitterness for the laboring masses. The work- 
ingmen certainly had no reason to be satisfied after the 
collapse of the revolution. 

The industrial world was allowed to organize, to ex- 
pand and even to exert influence over the government, 
but these privileges it had enjoyed also prior to 1905-06. 
The revolution had not changed its political status. True, 
representatives of industry and commerce now occupied 
a number of seats in the Imperial Duma and Imperial 
Council, some of them being leaders of political parties. 
Yet now, as before the revolution, industry and commerce 
had no political power. The right to determine economic, 
financial, military and foreign policies remained entirely 
in the hands of the bureaucratic rulers, whose actions were 
not always guided by solicitude for an unhampered devel- 
opment of economic forces. Now, as before the revolu- 
tion, the big associations of factory-owners, mine-oper- 

* According to official data, the average wages of a workingman in 
1910 were 244 rubles, an increase of two rubles compared with 1900- 
1901 (see page 12). 

•' VAE VICTIS " 363 

ators, railroad-men, bankers, could see their wants satis- 
fied only in a " super-legal '' way, through private nego- 
tiations with bureaucrats " higher up." This was hardly 
(flattering to the class-consciousness and self-respect of a 
modern man of affairs. 

The intellectuals had gained nothing through the revo- 
lution. Their political situation had become even worse 
than before. The administration suspected an enemy in 
every educated man, and the most hideous attacks of the 
Black Hundred were aimed at the intellectuals. The 
search for '* suspects," the hunting for hidden'' destroyers," 
made the life of thousands of intellectuals a nightmare. 

The social forces remained the same as before the 
revolution; the needs and desires that had moved them 
to shake the chains of autocracy remained unsatisfied. 
Yet the outlook was gloomy. 

Autocracy was victorious. In the preceding battles it 
had lost the mask of a superior power elevated above 
parties and equal to all its " subjects." After the revolu- 
tion, autocracy did not even deny that it was a warring 
faction, struggling for its existence. It did not even try 
to appear just. " Might is right " was now its slogan, and 
this it strove to impress on all Russian classes, parties, 
nationalities, professions — with the sole exception of the 
nobility and the Black Hundred. 

Vae victis. 

The Duma had survived, but it had not a vestige of 
power. The majority of the Duma — the extreme con- 
servatives, the *' nationalists " and the Octobrists — claim- 
ing to be co-operating with the government in the recon- 
struction of Russia, could appear to be so only while com- 
plying with the wishes and whims of the administration. 
The bureaucracy readily accepted their co-operation, 
under the one condition that they put the stamp of the 
Duma on every measure planned by the administration. 
They had a legal right to reject a bill, and the October 
manifesto had explictly declared that " no law can be- 

364 MARCH, 1917 

come binding without the consent of the Imperial Duma," 
but the administration had long forgotten that October 
scrap of paper. The administration had ways and means 
of putting its decisions into practice without the consent of 
the Duma. The body of the bureaucracy was well organ- 
ized; the periphery carried out promptly the orders of the 
center, in which there was no place for the Duma. The 
Duma was an outsider, a body of talkers. It might be 
tolerated, but it was not to be allowed to interfere with 
governmental affairs. The Duma could reject the budget, 
yet even this would not have placed the administration in 
a difficult situation. Large portions of the budget were, 
under all circumstances, exempted from the jurisdiction 
of the Duma (the so-called '* armored budget " covering 
the major part of the state expenditures) ; as to the other 
portions, the government could easily overcome the ob- 
stacle. As a last resort, it could adjourn the Duma for 
a few months, in the meantime drawing freely from the 
state treasury. Should the Duma be stubborn in rejecting 
a bill which was desirable to the administration, there was 
Article 87 of the Fundamental Laws. This article pro- 
vided that in case of a pressing need, when the legislative 
bodies were in recess and the time was short, the govern- 
ment was allowed to issue an emergency law which had 
later to receive the consent of the Duma and the Council. 
Repeatedly the government used this Article 87 as a 
means to overcome the obstruction of the Duma. In this 
way the law of November 9, 1906, was issued, the most 
radical land-reform since 1861. And when, in the spring 
of 191 1, the Duma showed reluctance to pass a bill intro- 
ducing national discrimination in the Zemstvo institutions 
to be established in six Western provinces, the government 
adjourned the Duma for a period of three days, during 
which the Zemstvo bill was published on the basis of 
Article 87. In no time the institutions provided by the 
bill were created and the offices set to work, so that when 
the *' emergency " bill later came up before the Duma the 

" VAE VICTIS " 365 

Zemstvo in the six provinces was already an accomplished 
fact, and the Duma was compelled to accept it. In similar 
fashion the government issued a number of other laws 
which were far from being dictated by emergencies, but 
were unacceptable to the Duma. 

The government was free. The Duma was a repre- 
sentation of a defeated people. The Duma had to be 
grateful for being allowed to live. The Black Hundred 
made it its policy to "demand" the dissolution of the 
Duma. In times of crises, rumors were abroad that the 
Duma was to be abolished or to be turned into a consulting 
body. The rumors were disquieting, because they seemed 
plausible. Nothing was impossible in the '* land of un- 
limited possibilities.'' 

Vae victis. 

The courts offered no more guarantees of justice. 
Prior to the revolution there had been a distinction be- 
tween a court of justice and a tribunal of gendarmes. A 
court of justice based its decisions on evidence, on reliable 
witnesses, allowing the defendant to have his counsel. A 
tribunal of gendarmes inflicted punishments without evi- 
dence of guilt, trusting the stories of political spies 
and allowing no defense on the part of the convict. 
After the revolution this distinction disappeared. Judges 
sentenced people to heavy punishments, to exile, to life- 
imprisonment without evidence, solely trusting the judg- 
ment of the gendarmes. Judges framed decisions not in 
accordance with the offense, but in obedience to orders 
received from the office of the governor, or the chief of 
gendarmes, or the leader of the Black Hundred. Judges 
disobeying orders were quickly removed. The bar-asso- 
ciations, consisting of liberal lawyers who were fighting 
against lawlessness in the courts, were raided, searched, 
suspended and their leaders often put into prison. At 
the bar the lawyers were treated not as respectable citi- 
zens co-operating with the judges in establishing the 
truth, but as scoundrels, uplifters and plotters whose place 

366 MARCH, 1917 

was in the prisoner's dock. Justice was an enemy of tri- 
umphant autocracy. Justice could only help the defeated 
people. Therefore justice was suspended. 

Vae victis. 

The free press was especially obnoxious to the victors. 
Immediately after the coup d'etat of June 3, 1907, the 
government ordered: ** The publication or spreading of 
articles or other communications invoking a hostile atti- 
tude towards the government is forbidden/' and '* The 
spreading of alarming news concerning the actions of the 
government or a public calamity or other similar events 
is forbidden." Offenders were to be prosecuted by court. 
Should the court, however, find no criminal action in an 
** undesirable " press-publication, the administration was 
allowed to impose on the publisher a fine of 500 rubles 
in localities under Intensified Vigilance and of 3,000 rubles 
in localities under Extraordinary Vigilance, which meant 
practically in every province of Russia. The press had 
thus to suffer from the whips of a biased court and the 
scorpions of an infuriated administration. Yet this was 
not enough. Confiscation of newspapers became a wide- 
spread practice. The press-buildings were raided early 
in the morning, and the fresh sheets of newspapers con- 
taining articles undesirable to the administration were 
seized before reaching the readers. 

The press groaned under all this " vigilance." In 191 1 
the fines imposed on publishers amounted to 73,450 
rubles; in 1912 the sum grew to 96,800; in 1913 it was 
already 129,775 rubles. The confiscations made some of 
the press-publications appear almost apocryphal. In 1913 
the daily, Life, was suspended 11 times in the course of 
19 days; out of 17 issues of the Workman's Truth 15 
were confiscated; the Northern Truth had 19 confiscations 
and 2 fines in the course of 25 days. Owing to arrests, 
some newspapers were compelled to change their (nomi- 
nal) editors nearly every month. There were newspapers 
which had six or seven or even more editors in prison. 

" VAE VICTIS " 367 

These prosecutions were sometimes due to no offense at 
all. The censor, the chief of police, the district attorney, 
were at liberty to curb the press without any special 
reason. The press at large was an enemy. The press 
had to suffer. 

Vae victis. 

In 1905 and 1906 hundreds of books, thousands of 
leaflets had been issued. At that time the press was 
almost free. The administration did not interfere. After 
1907, with the growth of its self-assurance, the govern- 
ment began to put on trial the authors of those books and 
leaflets. Hundreds of authors whose works of the stormy 
years had long been out of the market, and almost for- 
gotten, were tried and sentenced to one to three years* 
imprisonment. No consideration was given to name, to 
fame, to age. Nicholas Morozov, the old revolutionist, 
who had spent in the fortress of Schluesselburg, in soli- 
tary confinement, twenty-four years (from 1881 till 1905) 
and after his release had become famous as a scientist 
and a poet, was again put into prison for a year's term 
for his book of philosophical poems, Star Songs. Society 
was indignant. Intellectual Russia was shocked. But 
revenge is revenge. Nicholas Morozov stood too high 
in pubhc opinion. He manifested a youthful energy in 
literary and social work. He had to share the fate of 
all enemies. 

Vae victis. 

The right of assemblage and the right to organize 
were not abandoned, but societies and meetings were put 
under the supervision of the local administration, which 
amounted to almost complete suppression. Here is an 
example of administrative activity in regard to organiza- 
tions. In 19 13 the Petersburg authorities refused char- 
ters to the '' Hygiene '' Society, the '' Science and Life " 
Circle, the gathering of industry and commerce employees, 
the gathering of artists and writers, the " Ars " Literary 
Society, the union of typographical workers, the union of 

368 MARCH, 19 17 

steam-heat workers, etc. The authorities dissolved th^ 
society of professional photographers, the educational 
society of the Nevski borough, the '' Lux " Society, the 
" Esperanto '' Society, the Society of Jurists, the Reli- 
gious Society, " The Good Shepherd,'' the '' House of 
Mercy '' Society, the Women's Mutual Aid Association. 
Numerous meetings and lectures on current events, on the 
activities of the Imperial Duma, on labor sick-funds, on 
art, literature, science, education, were suppressed. In 
Kiev a lecture of the Duma representatives. Professor 
Ivanov and M. Shingarev, on the political parties in the 
Duma, a lecture in the theological society on the structure 
of the Russian Church, a literary recital in memory of 
the poet Shevtchenko, a " flower-day " for the benefit of 
the Free Firemen's Association, were not permitted. 
Most of the suppressed societies pursued no political ends 
whatever. Most of the lectures were of a purely educa- 
tional character. But education was as much an enemy 
of autocracy as open political opposition. Education had 
to be suppressed. 

The rule of Extraordinary Vigilance spread all over 
Russia. Under this rule the local authorities were allowed 
to substitute for the existing laws their own arbitrary 
regulations, touching not only public affairs, but practi- 
cally every realm of human activities. Under the rule 
of Extraordinary Vigilance, houses were searched, people 
were arrested without warrant and exiled without trial. 
Under the same rule it could happen that the chief of 
police of Yalta ordered every inhabitant to greet him 
when meeting him in ^e streets, aid the governor of 
Nishni Novgorod forbade a singer to sing Chopin's 
Spring at a concert, because it was a translation from the 
Polish and therefore obnoxious to the patriotic soul of a 
Russian. Under the rule of Vigilance the governor of 
Kiev ordered the co-operative organizations of his prov- 
ince to subscribe to no newspapers whatever, and the gov- 
ernors of many other provinces exiled to Siberia their 

Famine is Coming! 

By N Pirogov. 

" VAE VICTIS " 369 

personal enemies who had nothing to do with politics. 
Under the rule of Vigilance the assistant governor of 
Charkov closed the Charkov Medical Society, with its 
net of hospitals, bacteriological institute, laboratories, 
vaccination points, constructed with great care in the 
course of half a century. Under the rule of Vigilance 
every governor and governor-general became independent 
in local affairs; Russia was split into a number of king- 
doms, each ruled by its own autocrat; the extreme cen- 
tralization of Russia became the opposite. The central 
government was often disgusted by the notoriety of local 
rulers; but it was helpless, the local rulers being backed 
by members of the " Star Chamber," which was more 
powerful than all the ministers combined. 

Russia was disintegrated, yet united by the general 
trend of administrative zeal. The cue was given from 
Petersburg. Those were the years when Tzar Nicholas II 
identified himself with the Black Hundred, wearing the 
insignia of this organization and pardoning partici- 
pants in pogroms who had been found guilty by the 

A negative policy alone was not sufficient. One had 
to invent a program of positive work. One had to be able 
to parade in the cloak of saviors of the people. One 
needed an axle for the huge administrative wheel of de- 
struction. This was readily found in the storeroom of 
the Russian autocracy. It was militant nationalism, 

Russia includes a great number of non-Russian nation- 
alities: Poles, Jews, Finns, Letts, Lithuanians, Tartars, 
Caucasians. Those nationalities, suffering more than 
the native Russians under the yoke of autocracy, had 
manifested a comparatively deeper revolutionary excite- 
ment and had fought the most determined revolutionary 
battles. Now the victorious autocracy made them the 
object of its special attention. The ** strangers " were 
declared enemies of the Russian people. Their intention, 
it was asserted, had been the dismemberment of great 

370 MARCH, 1917 

Russia and the enthralling of the Russian masses. The 
people, therefore, must fight against those destroyers, it 
was urged. The government ought to help to save Russia 
from her internal menace. 

A war of extermination was declared against all small 
nationalities, especially against the Jews, who had been 
most conspicuous in the revolution. Polish schools were 
prosecuted. The PoHsh language was placed under ban. 
Finland was robbed of the major part of its autonomy, 
the law of June 17, 19 10, exempting from the jurisdiction 
of the Finnish Parliament all affairs which related to the 
empire at large; the Russian Imperial Duma and the 
Russian government were made the supreme legislators 
of Finland in the most vital problems. As to the 
Jews, there was hardly any measure that had not been 
tried before to hurt their dignity and make their life 
intolerable. The government could only vary its old 
measures, making them more ingenious, more subtle, more 
humiliating. This it did with great inventiveness and zest. 
Still, it lacked a great issue, a central point, a striking 
slogan. This was found in the blood accusation. 

The government semi-officially accepted the theory that 
the Jews were using Christian blood for religious pur- 
poses. Ages-old legends were revived. Sinister writers 
were quoted. The black press threw poisonous rumors 
into the heart of the masses. Soon the dark rumors 
assumed shape. The Mendel Bailis case was staged with 
great circumstance. 

Mendel Baihs was a poor Jewish factory employee in 
a suburb of Kiev. Not far from the brick-yard where he 
lived the body of a murdered Christian boy was discov- 
ered. No connection whatever could be established be- 
tween the murder and Mendel Bailis. Yet the local 
authorities, in perfect accord with the wishes of the cen- 
tral government, declared Bailis to be the murderer of 
the boy and the crime to have been committed with a 
religious purpose — that of using the blood in the Jewish 

^'VAE VICTIS" 371 

Passover bread. Bailis was imprisoned. A prosecution 
was started. 

For two years the Bailis case was in the center of public 
attention. The government attached tremendous im- 
portance to this particular case, which was, after all, only 
one instance among a million manifestations of adminis- 
trative contempt for law. The government, as it were, made 
the case a test-trial between itself and the opposing forces. 
It seemed as if in this case all the nationalistic policies of 
the post-revolutionary period found their culmination. 

For two years the " loyal '^ press fed on the blood- 
accusation. The most hateful rumors were spread. 
Mediaeval conceptions were revived. It looked as if 
Russia had no greater problems and no deeper interests 
than the Kiev blood-case. 

When, at last, after long delays, the case came up for 
trial (in the fall of 19 13), all Russia was astir. The cir- 
culation of newspapers reached unheard-of dimensions. 
The proceedings of the court, lasting fully thirty-five days, 
were minutely followed with the most absorbing interest. 
The government lost the case. Notwithstanding the pres- 
sure on the jury, notwithstanding the elaborate testimony 
of professors in the employ of the government, notwith- 
standing the participation in the trial of the most notor- 
ious leaders of the Black Hundred, Bailis was declared 
not guilty. 

This was a blow to the government, but the national- 
istic course continued in the same reckless manner. Soon 
new blood-trials came up, and the pogrom propaganda 
was openly conducted by the black press and the black 

The position of the Black Hundred during those years 
was peculiar. It was, perhaps, the most obvious mani- 
festation of governmental decay. An ordinary petty 
merchant, or a member of the lower clergy, or an obscure 
personage without any occupation, gathering around him- 
self a dozen or so unscrupulous individuals of the slums, 

372 MARCH, 19 1 7 

could actually terrorize an entire city. The dozen indi- 
viduals would call themselves the local committee of the 
Union of Russian People (alias Black Hundred) ; the 
organizer would be named the " leader '' of the organiza- 
tion, and soon the activities of the group would begin, to 
the despair of an entire community. The Black Hundred 
organized patriotic processions, and the authorities were 
obliged to give them aid and participate in the manifesta- 
tions. The Black Hundred announced patriotic services, 
and the clergy, knowing very well the caliber of the organ- 
ization and the moral complexion of its members, were 
afraid to refuse. What is more, the authorities, high and 
low, including the priests, were obliged to enlist in the 
Black Hundred, though many were loath to do so. In case 
of opposition, or even silent discontent, on the part of an 
administrator, telegrams were sent to Petersburg to the 
heads of the organization, to the ** patriotic '' press, to 
the Tzar.* As a rule, the desires of the Black Hundred 
were given full satisfaction, and the local obstructionists 
had either to yield or to leave. It goes without saying 
that all the lawless acts of the Black Hundred and those 
affiliated with it remained unpunished. Single individuals 
without talent or position made governors, professors, 
lawyers, district attorneys, bishops tremble. A score of 
degraded '* Blacks " armed with rifles spread panic over 
large cities. Nobody could offer resistance. 

It was a time when stupid and brutal oppression was a 
kind of advertisement for an administrator. The more 
senseless, the more glaring, the more notorious a measure 
was, the more indignation it aroused in progressive circles, 
the more conspicuous were its lawlessness and injurious 
effects, the more hostile comment it invoked, the more 
successful was the author of the measure. 

*The author of this work happened to read a peculiar literary pro- 
duction of the Black Hundred. It was a pamphlet issued by the Baku 
committee of the Union of the Russian People, imputing to the local 
chief of police, the mayor and one of the richest oil kings the organization 
of a " revolutionary commune." 

A Meeting of the Black Hundred 
As seen by a cartoonist 


And yet " spring was spring." 

In the summer of 1909 I was walking with several 
of my friends through the beautiful pine-woods near 
Kiev. On€ of the young men started to hum a revolu- 
tionary song. 

" Stop it," another disgustedly remarked. 

"Why?" I asked. 

*' Don't you see? It is bad taste." 

It was true. In the summer of 1909 it was bad taste 
to sing revolutionary songs in Russia. In the summer 
of 19 14, however, revolutionary songs echoed over the 
great plains of Russia, and nobody considered it bad 
taste. Old values had gained a new attractiveness. Old 
slogans had revived. 

But it was a painful and harrowing process. 

It started with bitter disappointment. The revolu- 
tionary movement was dead. The celebrated working- 
man proved to be powerless. The peasants were beaten 
into unconsciousness. The air was full of a bloody mist. 
What could be done? 

The intellectual soul, the most restless factor in the 
revolution, was feverishly groping for a way out. The 
political road was blocked. Social ideas had become dis- 
gusting. The gods of yesterday were crushed, turned 
to dust. Who was going to be the new God? 

Part of the Russian intellectuals had become interested 
in religious ideas. Revolutionists and materialists of a 
year or two before were now ardent readers of theo- 
logical literature, ardent ** seekers of God " as they were 
readily named. Another portion tried to find themselves 


374 MARCH, 1917 

through an exaggerated estimation of sex-emotions, seeing 
in Artzybashev's Sanin a new slogan and a new light. 
(It is only just to state that this faction was very small 
and of no influence over the majority of thinking 
Russia.) Still others resorted to the sad Russian con- 
solation, — self-reproach. 

A remarkable literary monument has remained from 
those days : the collection of articles entitled Guide-posts. 
The book was written by a number of well-known philoso- 
phers, publicists and writers, who had been very sym- 
pathetic with the revolution though not affiliated with any 
revolutionary organization. Now they stepped forth 
with a long series of accusations against the revolutionary 
intellectuals, i.e., against all intellectual Russia. The in- 
tellectuals had attached too much importance to political 
and social problems and had neglected their inner life, the 
Guide-posts asserted. The intellectuals had ignored the 
great problems of philosophy, of mysticism, of religion, 
thus losing sight of the greatest values, and their struggle 
for freedom had been of no significance. The intel- 
lectuals were too realistic and too materialistic. " The 
intellectuals valued freedom and adhered to a philosophy 
that had no room for freedom; they valued person- 
ality and adhered to a philosophy that had no room for 
personality; they valued the meaning of progress and 
they adhered to a philosophy that had no room for a 
meaning of progress; they valued human coherence and 
they cherished a philosophy that had no room for the 
coherence of humanity.'* * The intellectuals lacked a 
deeper morality. The intellectuals had no sense of real 
justice. The intellectuals had too much respect for rules 
and regulations and too little inner freedom. The in- 
tellectuals had no knowledge, no real understanding of 
political situations, no real love for the people. The In- 
tellectuals worshiped the people but at the same time 

♦Nicholas Berdyayev, "The Philosophical Truth," in the Guide-posts, 
pp. 20-21. 


deemed themselves spiritual aristocrats elevated above 
the people. The intellectuals were ** a host of sick people, 
isolated in their native country.'' * 

The Guide-posts were a manifestation of reaction 
against the recent nervous strain. The book called the 
intellectual *^ back to himself," to his inner self, away 
from scourging reality. The tremendous success of the 
book, the volume of comment it aroused, proved that 
it struck a vital chord. For a long time the Guide-posts 
were the most absorbing topic of conversation. It looked 
as if intellectual Russia was really shaking from its feet 
the dust of the revolution. 

But how about political life? How about social prob- 
lems? How could the nameless sufferings of the people 
be removed through a return of the individual into him- 
self? This the Guide-posts could not answer, being, as 
they were, an expression of sheer despair. 

In the ranks of those intellectuals who had remained 
faithful to the revolutionary ideals, there was much con- 
fusion, much talk, and almost no constructive work. The 
revolutionary party organizations split into many small 
factions engaged in the most bitter controversies. The 
Social-Revolutionary Party received a severe blow 
through the revelations of the role of agents provocateurs 
in its highest offices; for a time it lost its prestige and 
struggled hard to retain a foot-hold. In the Social-Demo- 
cratic Party, the controversy between the Bolsheviki and 
Mensheviki, dating from the second convention of the 
party in 1903, became more acute, splitting the party into 
two hostile factions, each of which was further divided 
into various minor groups, representing different shades 
of opinion. 

The original controversy between the Mensheviki and 
Bolsheviki centered in the question of more or less cen- 
tralization in the secret revolutionary organization. The 
divergence of views was in reality very slight, and only 

*lbtd., p. 87 ("Creative Self-consciousness," by M. O. Hershenzon). 

376 MARCH, 1917 

the abnormal conditions of an ** underground " organiza- 
tion made it appear of any significance. In the course of 
the revolution, however, and especially after the collapse 
of the 1905-06 mass-movement, the difference of opinion 
developed into two opposed conceptions of mass-move- 
ment, two methods of political activity. The Men- 
sheviki were more realistic, the Bolsheviki more dog- 
matic. The Mensheviki tried to adapt their tactics — 
and urged the masses to adapt their movements — to the 
political juncture of the moment. The Bolsheviki be- 
lieved in the possibility and feasibility of a permanent 
revolution quite independent of the political situation in 
Russia. The Mensheviki appealed to political wisdom, 
to cautious deliberation, to a broad view. The Bolsheviki 
had one goal in mind : an armed insurrection. The Men- 
sheviki were convinced that a revolution in Russia was 
possible only as a result of combined efforts of all classes, 
groups and professions — industry and commerce not ex- 
cluded. The Bolsheviki imagined the revolution as an 
uprising of the workingmen and peasants against the 
autocracy and capitalistic parties, ultimately resulting in 
a " dictatorship of the workingmen and peasants," which 
alone would secure real democracy and freedom. The 
Mensheviki had more faith in movements of large masses, 
even if the movements in themselves were of no out- 
spoken radical character. The Bolsheviki believed only 
in one kind of movement — that of an extreme revolu- 
tionary character, armed insurrection or preparation for 
it. The Mensheviki emphasized the necessity of educa- 
tion, of patient and prolonged organizing activity 

*"Menshevik" (plural: Mensheviki) — member of the minority; 
"Bolshevik" (plural: Bolsheviki) — member of the majority. At the 
second convention of the party in 1903 one of the factions formed a 
slight majority, the other — a minority. Hence the names of both factions. 
In the course of time the former convention-majority (the Bolsheviki) 
became a minority of the Russian Social-Democrats, yet the name re- 
mained. The words "Bolsheviki" and "Mensheviki" have now lost 
their connotation of majority or minority. The words are simply names 
of two factions. 


among the " raw '' masses. The Bolsheviki cherished the 
idea of conspiracy, of instigating and enticing the masses 
by the brave example of small, well-organized groups of 
armed revolutionists. The Mensheviki laid much stress 
on the movement itself and little on the initiative or the 
plans of a secret organization. The Bolsheviki were in- 
clined to believe that the masses as such had no political 
wisdom and no clear understanding of their own interest 
and that they were apt to go astray without the leader- 
ship of wise conspirators. 

This difference of conceptions led to severe clashes in 
practical affairs. In the first and second Duma, the 
Mensheviki thought political agreements with the Con- 
stitutional Democrats advisable, trusting the latter to be 
real opponents of the autocratic regime. The Bolsheviki 
looked upon a combination of Social-Democrats and Con- 
stitutional Democrats to uphold the same slogans as a 
betrayal of the interests of the working-class. George 
Plechanov, the famous theorist of the Russian Social- 
Democracy, thus formulated the standpoint of the Men- 
sheviki: "We have two enemies (the autocratic regime 
and the capitalist parties). A wise strategy demands that 
we first concentrate our efforts on one of them. After 
having defeated the first enemy, we shall fall upon the 
other. This was the way of the great master in tactical 
problems. Napoleon I. Now, what ought to be the first 
object of our attack? Of course, the government. Let 
us, therefore, concentrate our forces on this enemy. The 
government meets, and will for a long time to come 
continue to meet with opposition on the part of the Con- 
stitutional Democrats. This means that your enemies 
are hostile to each other as yet. It is, therefore, only 
wise tactics that in concentrating your forces against the 
government, you use the Constitutional Democratic op- 
position for the benefit of the revolution." * The Bol- 
sheviki, however, believed that the Constitutional Demo- 

*G. V. Plechanov, ITe and They, p. ix. 

378 MARCH, 1917 

crats were ready at any time to betray the interests of 
democracy by entering into an agreement with the abso- 
lute government as the price of trivial concessions. 

During the months of comparative freedom in 1905 
and 1906, the Mensheviki undertook propaganda in 
favor of a great labor-convention — not a convention of 
party-members, not even a convention of revolutionists, 
but a convention of representatives of the labor-masses, 
elected at broad gatherings of factory-workers. A con- 
vention of this kind, they emphasized, would be of tre- 
mendous organizing value, bringing order into the con- 
fusion of the labor-movement and exercising much more 
authority over the workingmen than any revolutionary 
committee. The Mensheviki anticipated that a labor- 
convention might refuse some of the Social-Democratic 
demands, yet in their opinion a great concrete movement 
of a progressive character was infinitely more valuable 
than the integrity of their party program. They believed 
in mass-movements. An organization of workingmen, 
even erring for a while and losing sight of the Social- 
Democratic conceptions, would ultimately find the right 
way, they believed. The Mensheviki valued above all 
the purity of principles. The control of their organiza- 
tion over the mass-movement, the strict adherence to 
Social-Democratic slogans was for them of supreme im- 
portance. They had no confidence in the political sense 
of a broad labor gathering, and they bitterly opposed the 
idea of handing over the fate of the labor-movement to 
haphazard representatives of the masses. 

After the collapse of the revolution, the Mensheviki 
believed that an armed insurrection was impossible for 
the time being. They refused to call the masses to new 
battles which they were doomed to lose. The Bolsheviki 
thought this was detrimental to the cause of the revolu- 
tion. In their opinion there was no reason for changing 
the old slogans and the old tactics. 

In the dark years of distress, the Mensheviki were 


loath to return to '' underground " work. " Conspir- 
acy " and secrecy was good for small circles, like the 
first Social-Democratic groups before the revolution, 
they thought. A broad labor-movement, however, op- 
pressed by the government, could gain little through 
" underground '^ methods which necessarily must be con- 
fined to very small groups, they asserted. The Men- 
sheviki, therefore, seized every opportunity to organize 
the masses on a *' legal " basis. Mutual aid associations, 
co-operative societies, sporting circles, educational groups 
were all beneficial for the labor-movement and ultimately 
for the revolution, they believed. In their work they had 
to adapt themselves to political conditions; they had to 
curtail their demands, to muffle their slogans, even to hide 
their political physiognomy, yet they trusted the good 
judgment of the workingmen, believing that at the proper 
time the right slogans would find ample adherence. The 
Bolsheviki scoffed at such methods, considering that they 
represented an abandonment of revolutionary hopes and 
a misleading of the masses. 

The masses, however, knew nothing of either the 
Mensheviki or the Bolsheviki. The masses were living 
their own lives, slowly digesting the lessons of 1905-06, 
making their own estimate of recent events, and gradually 
recovering from the shock. The great masses of the 
working population retained much more revolutionary 
energy and more hope for the future than the disap- 
pointed and down-hearted intellectuals were disposed to 

Slowly, but steadily, life was changing its aspect. 

People were learning to read. People were becoming 
interested in current political events. From 1908 to 
1909, according to oflScial data, the number of persons 
subscribing to the public press grew 25 per cent. Books 
were now finding their way among the masses much more 
genei'ally than before the revolution. The pressure of 
the censorship was severe, yet, notwithstanding all diffi- 

38o MARCH, 19 17 

culties, the press was speaking a free language, and the 
readers were gradually receiving political education. 

Unions and organizations were under ban, yet slowly 
the country was organizing, and people were learning to 
partake in collective affairs. Co-operative organizations 
were rapidly spreading, both among the city population 
and among the peasants. In 1905 the number of co- 
operative organizations in Russia was 4,479, in 191 1 
their number increased to 19,253, in 1912 there were 
already 25,513 and in 1913 over 30,000 organizations. 
Each organization, whatever its aims might have been, 
was a little center for education and self-discipline. 
Labor unions were being organized, and the most strenu- 
ous efforts were being made to overcome the obstruction 
of the administration. The efforts repeatedly failed, yet 
they were beneficial for the working population in de- 
veloping solidarity and a feeling of self-reliance. Meet- 
ings and lectures were considered perilous by the gov- 
ernment, yet greater than the stubbornness of the ad- 
ministration was the striving of the masses to meet, to 
discuss their affairs, to listen to '* a word of truth." 

Russia was being driven by the government into the 
apathy and silence of the pre-revolutionary times. Yet 
Russia had become a constitutional country, legally if not 
in practice, and nobody could stem the rising of a new 
spirit. The tone of life had changed. The attitude 
towards the authorities had changed. The government 
had descended from the clouds where in former years it 
appeared to the average citizen to dwell. People had 
learned to understand that the ministers were ordinary 
human beings whose actions could be criticized not in a 
whisper, but openly and publicly before the entire country. 
The government had lost its halo of mystery — this was 
perhaps the greatest achievement of the revolution. 
People began to think of public affairs as comprehensible 
to everybody. Politics became an every-day matter. 

The country had now a center — the Imperial Duma, 


The Duma had no power to act, yet it had the power to 
criticize, to reveal evils, to enlighten the masses, to create 
public sentiment and public opinion. The Duma was the 
great tribunal whose word was sounding all over the 
country. The majority of the Duma were compromising 
with the government, yet even the conservative factions 
often became disgusted and burst out with an impressive 
criticism of the existing order. The minority, consisting 
of Social-Democrats, Trudoviki (*' Laborites '' moderate 
Socialists) and Constitutional Democrats faithfully and 
unremittingly exposed the inefficiency, the helplessness, 
the lack of real patriotism, the meanness and the cruelty 
of the administration. Not one point In the great realm 
of internal and foreign politics remained untouched, not 
one action remained unscrutinized. The press conveyed 
the Duma speeches to millions of readers, — the adminis- 
tration did not dare to stop their publication, though at- 
tempts were repeatedly made to do so. The country 
silently absorbed all the news of the proceedings of the 
Duma. The country was quiet. Nobody could tell how 
deeply the seeds were sinking into the heart of the people. 
One thing was clear: people learned to look upon the 
Duma as a legitimate institution, the defender of their 
interests, the expression of their wishes and ideals. 

The existence of the Duma marked the radical differ- 
ence between pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary 
times. The Duma was powerless in actual political life, 
yet powerful by the confidence of the people. 

The period of silence was brief. As in the beginning 
of the first tide, the students started the movement. In 
the fall of 19 10 Tolstoi, whose protest against the execu- 
tions had touched the heart of every civilized Russian, 
breathed his last. In November, thousands of students 
protested against capital punishment in memory of 
Tolstoi. A wave of students' strikes rolled from Peters- 
burg to Moscow, Charkov, Kiev, Odessa. The students 
organized manifestations, with flags bearing the inscrip- 

382 MARCH, 19 1 7 

tion: "Away with capital punishment!'' The govern- 
ment imprisoned a number of students. This led to a 
new series of strikes in December, 19 10, and in the early 
part of 191 1. Revolutionary meetings were held and 
resolutions passed condemning the government. 

In 191 1 the labor-movement began to be felt in Rus- 
sian public life. Sporadic strikes had never stopped since 
the revolution. Now they became more impressive, com- 
prising great masses, totalling hundreds of thousands 
of workmen yearly. The strikes were originally of an 
economic character, the workmen trying to regain their 
losses of 1906-07. Soon, however, political strikes be- 
came quite frequent. The working masses manifested a 
spirit of unrest. They responded to current political 
events, they backed their press, they held meetings, they 
sent petitions to the Duma, and time and again they went 
on strike protesting against public outrages. 

In 1 9 13-14 the air was again full of electricity. Jan- 
uary 9th was celebrated in Petersburg by a strike of 
55,000 workingmen and by many thousands all over the 
country. April 4th, the anniversary of a shocking 
slaughter of workingmen in the gold fields of Lena, Si- 
beria, witnessed a strike of 80,000 in Petersburg, 10,000 
in Moscow and many smaller strikes in other cities. On 
May 1st the traditional May-day strike took place, 
spreading into the remotest towns of the country. Meet- 
ings were held, street demonstrations were organized, the 
slogans being: freedom of labor unions, an eight-hour 
work-day and a protest against militarism and the Bal- 
kan war. The number of strikers was in Petersburg 
220,000, in Moscow 50,000, in Riga 50,000, in Charkov 
15,000 and in other cities many tens of thousands. In 
June, 19 13, a great protest strike against the prosecution 
of the labor press took place. 

The movement widened in scope and became of an 
ever more revolutionary character. In the spring of 19 14 
it looked as if labor had lost all fear of the administra- 


tion. The workingmen ignored the rules and regulations 
in the same spirit as in 1905. Street demonstrations of 
tens of thousands of workingmen became a permanent 
feature of Petersburg life. It must be noted that already 
in the spring of 19 14 the government hesitated to 
slaughter its opponents in the manner of former years. 
Something had changed. Public sentiment had moved 
from the dead point. The intellectuals, encouraged by 
the rising tide, were lifting their heads. New hopes were 
growing. New beliefs refreshed the starving souls. In 
the summer of 19 14 there were already collisions in the 
streets of Petersburg between the workingmen and the 

Revolutionary songs were no longer a manifestation 
of '* bad taste.'' 



Then the war came. The Russian government was 
not prepared. It had cherished imperialistic plans and 
it had given great care to the reorganization of the army 
after the Russo-Japanese war; yet it was not prepared. 
Russian autocracy was never prepared when it had to 
face grave national problems. 

At the beginning of the war a wave of patriotism 
swept the heterogeneous country. Russians and Ukrai- 
nians, Poles and Jews pledged their loyalty and ex- 
pressed their willingness to uphold the Fatherland, in 
the firm belief that now, when the integrity of the coun- 
try was at stake, the government would certainly make 
concessions to the people. The government answered by 
closing all the labor organizations, by annihilating the 
labor press, by establishing censorship not only over mili- 
tary news but over all expressions of public opinion in 
the press, by arresting, trying and exiling to Siberia five 
Social-Democratic members of the Imperial Duma, by 
tightening the administrative grip over all free move- 
ments of the country and by a series of outrages against 
the Jews, who were accused in general of being German 
spies and of whom hundreds of thousands were driven out 
of the cities near the Western front. The readiness of 
patriotic elements to help their country in times of peril 
were met with a grim countenance and a menacing fist. 

For a time after the beginning of the war, the success 
of the Russian arms in Galicia and the apparent perfec- 
tion of the Russian military organization rendered the 
government self-confident. The country was in a state 
of confusion. The hardships of war and the great sac- 



rifices demanded from the citizens seemed to leave no 
time or desire for political movements. 

The summer of 19 15 witnessed a change for the worse 
in the situation of the army. The retreat from Galicia 
and the fall of Warsaw, coupled with the defeats of the 
previous autumn in the Masurian marshes, showed that 
something was wrong with the fighting power of the 
nation. The soldiers were brave, that was beyond all 
question. The country, with the exception of small 
minorities, was in favor of a decisive victory. Yet the 
Russian army was retreating, and large portions of the 
Russian territory were in the hands of the foe. How 
was this possible? 

A parallel with the Japanese war of 1904-05 was 
readily drawn. In the nine years after that war great 
efforts had been made to increase the fighting capacity of 
the army. The soldiers were better kept, better fed, 
better armed and were in the main better educated than 
had been the soldiers in Manchuria. Still, there were 
defeats. Was not the fault with the old administrative 

Gradually it dawned upon the masses that the great 
world war was different from all previous wars; that it 
was not merely a war of governments conducted by armed 
men, but a war of peoples; that to hold out in those 
gigantic struggles, the entire nation must be organized 
and efficiently co-operating with the men at the front; that 
able and ardent activities in farming, industry, commerce, 
transportation were as necessary for victory as shells and 

Slowly, but firmly this idea permeated minds in Rus- 
sia. Little observation was required to conclude that 
Russia could not organize because the administration was 
in the way of the people. Every attempt at concerted 
action on the part of Russian citizens was blocked by the 
government as an act of sedition. How could the coun- 
try mobilize to uphold the army? 

386 MARCH, 1917 

The government was waging war simultaneously on 
two fronts: against the foreign enemy and against its 
own people. Was there any hope of stemming the tide 
of enemy armies overflooding the Fatherland? 

The government, refusing to accept the aid of the peo- 
ple, whose combined energies were capable of making 
the momentous natural resources of the country available 
for war purposes, was practically serving the cause of the 
enemy. Was it not the patriotic duty of every fair- 
minded citizen to help overthrow the government and to 
put into office men enjoying the confidence of the people? 

Thus the old mistrust of autocracy on the part of mod- 
erate elements, the old dissatisfaction of more radical 
groups, the old revolutionary glow in the hearts of the 
extreme left, received a new, powerful ally : the patriotic 
indignation of the people against an order endangering 
the very existence of the country. 

Still, the country was downtrodden, terrorized, made 
speechless by the administration. The press was muzzled. 
The citizens were not allowed to express their senti- 
ments. " There ought to be no politics," one of the ad- 
ministrators, the Minister of the Interior Chvostov de- 
clared In a public statement. ** I pursue no politics, I 
have consciously given it up, and I cannot allow others to 
pursue it." This was said fifteen months after the be- 
ginning of the war, but this was the program of the ad- 
ministration during all those months of trial. 

Active elements of the people had organized to help 
the army, to lessen some of the evils caused by reckless 
administration. The Zemstvos formed a National Union 
of Zemstvos to provide the army with food, clothes and 
other necessities. The municipalities formed a Union of 
Cities with a similar program. Big Industry formed an 
Industrial Military Committee with branches all over 
Russia to mobolize industry for war purposes, to aid the 
placing of internal loans, to solve difficult problems of 
transportation, to adjust conflicts between capital and 


labor, and generally to adapt the economic organism of 
the country to the requirements of war time. Those three 
organizations were supported by large portions of the 
population, including the workingmen who participated 
in the local and central bodies of the Industrial Military 
Committee. It was an open secret that without those 
organizations which practically eliminated the bureau- 
cratic food-supply offices, the situation of the army would 
have been far worse. Yet the government looked upon 
them with hostile eyes, their actions were being inter- 
fered with, their decisions often ignored, their agents 
treated as meddlers. The Unions of Zemstvos and Cities 
and the Industrial Committee had tc be extremely cau- 
tious for fear of being dissolved. 

Under such circumstances, there was only one body 
that could voice the sentiment of the people, the Imperial 

In the summer of 19 15, the Duma assumed a tone of 
sharp, indignant opposition. The spirit of a deeply 
stirred country made itself heard through the utterances 
of the radical and even moderate deputies. The summer 
session opened on July 19th. Many of the deputies had 
come to the Tauric Palace from the front, wearing mili- 
tary uniforms. Many had returned from their work in 
the Red Cross units. There was something fresh, vig- 
orous in the demeanor of the representatives of the peo- 
ple. The speeches of the day were made by Paul Milu- 
kov, the leader of the Constitutional Democrats, and 
Alexander Kerenski, the leader of the Trudoviki. 

" This is the third time that we have met during this 
war," Milukov began. " The first time, at the very be- 
ginning of the war, the people gave us one mandate : we 
had to express, and express we did, the sentiment of high 
patriotic enthusiasm of all nationalities, all social groups, 
all political affiliations. Half a year later, in January, 
we came here with another feeling, the feeling of patriotic 
alarm. We then kept this feeling to ourselves. Yet in 

388 MARCH, 1917 

closed sessions of committees we told the government all 
that filled the soul of the people. The answer we received 
did not calm us : it amounted to saying that the govern- 
ment could get along without us, without our co-opera- 
tion. To-day we have convened in a moment of grave 
trial for our Fatherland. The patriotic alarm of the 
representatives of the people has proved to be well 
founded, to the misfortune of our country. Secret things 
have become open, and the assertions of half a year ago 
have turned out to be mere words. Yet the country can- 
not be satisfied with words. The people wish to take 
affairs into their own hands and to correct what has been 
neglected. The people look upon us as upon legal ex- 
ecutors of their will.*' 
/ This was the cue to the demands of the Duma. " The 
people wish to take affairs into their own hands." The 
people cannot tolerate an irresponsible government any 
longer. The crown has to form a new cabinet with the 
approval of the majority of the Duma. 

This was not abstract criticism. It was a concrete de- 
mand. It showed a way out of the blind alley into which 
the government had driven the country. It preached no 
violent changes. It appealed to the supreme power to 
appoint ministers in accord with the representatives of 
the people in order to save the country. This could be 
done in one day, if the crown agreed to it. 

It was a plain program, comprehensible to the masses, 
seemingly moderate, yet it marked a turning-point in the 
history of the Duma: for the first time since the coup 
d'etat of 1907, the majority of the Duma demanded a 
government responsible to the Duma. 

Another chord was struck by the same Milukov on the 
first day of the session; a problem was touched which 
played a remarkable role in the later development of 
events. Milukov raised the question of treason in the 
higher military ranks. "High up and low down,'' he 
said, " among the educated and among the illiterate peo- 


pie, In the capital and in the remotest provincial towns, 
from one end of our great country to the other, rumors 
creep, rumors of perfidy, of treason. The rumors reach 
high, halting at no one. The highest command of the 
army has been transferred into other hands, yet it must be 
stated that a mere resignation of the war minister can 
satisfy neither the army nor the country. Only a court 
investigation could put an end to the persistent rumors 
and separate the innocent from the guilty.'' 

This was an expression of the anxiety of the army 
which had seen its military commanders in action and had 
grown to believe that the victory of Russian arms was not 
the highest aim of the highest military authorities. 
/ Still another point was touched upon by Alexander 
Kerenski. " Remember," he said, addressing himself to 
the Duma, '* remember that the urgent need of the mo- 
ment is not legislative work, but the creation of a new, 
sound governmental power, the creation of a new system 
of administration. When the nation is in danger, you 
must act promptly and with certainty. . . . / appeal to 
the people themselves to take into their hands the salva- 
tion of the country and to fight for a full right to govern 
the state.'' 

This was a direct appeal for a revolution. Events 
have proved that the attitude of the Duma created a pro- 
found impression in the country. 

The Duma had now, for the first time since 1907, a 
majority in outspoken opposition to the cabinet. This 
majority was a result of careful negotiations between the 
various factions of the Duma. On August 22nd a formal 
coalition, known as the Progressive Bloc, was established, 
comprising the Constitutional Democrats, the Progres- 
sives, the Octobrists, the Center group and the progres- 
sive faction of the Nationalists, all together controlling 
a majority of votes in the Duma. The program of the 
bloc was far from satisfying the radical groups, such as 
the Trudoviki and the Social-Democrats, yet it contained 

390 MARCH, 1917 

a number of reforms indispensable for the country, chief 
among which were a government responsible to the Duma 
(^*a united government of persons who enjoy the con- 
fidence of the country and who have reached an agree- 
ment with the legislative bodies as to a program to be 
'followed in the near future ") ; elimination of a double 
administration, military and civil, in matters not pertain- 
< ing directly to military operations ; amnesty for political 
i prisoners and exiles; autonomy for Poland; gradual 
abolition of the restrictions upon the Jews ; a conciliatory 
policy in regard to Finland; restoration of the Ukrainian 
press; restoration of the labor unions and abolition of 
prosecution of workingmen's representatives In the sick- 
funds; abolition of legal restrictions In regard to the 
peasants; a revision of the Zemstvo electoral law and of 
the municipal electoral law, etc. 

A similar bloc of a moderately progressive character 
was formed in the Imperial Council, which had been far 
more conservative than the Imperial Duma. 

Thus the legislative bodies presented a united front, 
which made their position stronger. Beginning July- 
August, 19 1 5, the political movement of the country cen- 
tered in and around the Duma. 

The country responded. The Moscow city council 
passed a resolution demanding a responsible government. 
The Moscow Merchants' Association joined In. A 
national convention of representatives of industry and 
commerce — the leading body of Russian capitalists' or- 
ganizations — passed a similar resolution. The Petrograd 
city council passed a resolution which reads in part : '' The 
forces of the Russian people are Inexhaustible, their reso- 
lution to continue the fight to a victorious end is unalter- 
able, their confidence in the army and in coming victory 
Is unshakable. Yet the way of those forces ought to be 
made clear, they ought to be headed by a government not 
guilty of the crimes of the past, powerful by the confi- 
dence of the people, capable of rising to that height of 


statesmanlike wisdom which is required by the gravity of 
the moment. A severe retaliation ought to fall on the 
heads of those who have stained themselves with the 
filth of selfish greed and with the blood of their brethren." 
The city council implores the Emperor to create a govern- 
ment of new persons enjoying the confidence of the 

Similar resolutions came from various parts of the 
country. ''A responsible government '^ became the 
slogan of the time. It was a moderate program. It in- 
cluded reforms dictated by the urgency of the moment. 
It did not even mention universal suffrage. People ac- 
cepted this program, because it seemed that the crown 
would accede to it. Was not the Progressive Bloc mo- 
narchic? Did it not express its loyalty to the dynasty? 
Was not the dynasty interested in saving the country? 

The government replied by interrupting the session 
of the Duma and suspending it on September 3rd for an 
indefinite period. 


Strange times followed. With every month, the dis- 
aster of the war made itself felt more keenly; with every 
month, the general unrest, the dark rumors, the confu- 
sion grew. And with every month the recklessness and 
stubbornness of the government increased. 

The country was facing starvation, not because it 
lacked food, but because the food supplies were not 
properly managed. According to official estimates, the 
surplus of the four leading grains in Russia over the re- 
quirements of the army and the civil population was in 
19 1 5 nearly 500 millions of poods, in 19 16 over 440 
millions. The surplus of butter, sugar and other neces- 
sities was comparatively smaller, yet there was no re?^ 
shortage of foodstuffs. Even assuming that the official 
estimates were too optimistic, it is evident that the coun- 
try was sufficiently provided with food, and there was no 
real famine. 

Yet the country suffered. The population was alarmed. 
Prices reached unheard-of dimensions. The poor were 
starving. The only reason was the inability of the gov- 
ernment to cope with the situation. 

There was no uniform policy, no plan, no concern 
about the future. The government paid fixed prices for 
its own purchases, but left the prices for private purchases 
free. The local authorities fixed prices of commodities 
each in its own district, yet the prices varied from town 
to town, and in large portions of the country there were 
no fixed prices at all. Rules and regulations as to dis- 
tribution of foodstuffs were being issued by the Minister 
of Agriculture, by the Minister of the Interior, by the 



Minister of Communications, by special conferences, 
civil and military, by the cabinet as a whole, by agents of 
the central government, by local governors, chiefs of 
police, etc., etc., and they often contradicted each other. 
Agents of the government, making purchases for the army 
in a certain district, would issue orders forbidding the 
export of foodstuffs from this district into other parts 
of Russia ; oftentimes the district, being one of the gran- 
aries of Russia, would contain tremendous amounts of 
foodstuffs while the governmental purchases to be made 
in it were comparatively small, even trifling, yet the entire 
district would be closed for all the rest of the country. 
Russia practically split into a number of small units with 
no exchange of foods. All this chaos of haphazard ex- 
periments resulted in speculation, in frauds, in artificial 
raising of prices — and in sufferings for the civil popula- 
tion as well as losses for the government. 

To bring order out of this chaos, the government 
would have had to listen to public opinion, to call a con- 
vention of specialists, with representatives of the various 
popular organizations, to work out a definite plan of a 
uniform policy, to engage the co-operation of the Zem- 
stvos, the cities, the Military Industrial Committee, the 
co-operative organizations and every other private or- 
ganization that would be willing to put its hand to this 
national task. It was not a problem of more or less 
freedom, of one or the other form of government. It 
was a task of saving the country from hunger and the 
army from defeat. So it was understood by every- 
/ The government did the reverse. It declared a war of 
extermination against all social organizations engaged 
in the food problem. It closed the national office of 
the Russian co-operative organizations which were mak- 
ing every effort to help their members In hard times. It 
rejected all proposals to call a food convention. It used 
the recess of the Duma to issue laws on the basis of 

394 MARCH, 19 17 

Article 87, some of them having a direct bearing upon 
the war, such as taxation of war profits. It arrested 
workmen's representatives in the Military Industrial 
committees who were arbitrating between employers and 
employees, establishing public kitchens in poor com- 
munities, organizing labor unions and co-operative so- 
cieties and trying to regulate the outbursts of strikes. It 
put obstacles in the way of the Unions of Zemstvos and 
Cities. To crown all these measures, in the summer of 
19 1 6, it ordered that no conventions^ conferences or con- 
gresses of whatever kind should be held. 

The order met with an outburst of indignation all over 
the country. The spirit of dissatisfaction was growing. 

The government itself was restless. It felt its help- 
lessness. The country was still silent, yet contempt and 
disgust met every step and every measure of the ad- 
ministration. The army was still loyal, yet things were 
being whispered in the trenches, and dark misgivings were 
spreading in the military ranks. The bureaucratic ma- 
chinery was still intact, yet the task was becoming im- 
mense; the tide of requirements was overwhelming, and 
no success crowned the efforts of the Tchinovnicks. 

A perpetuum mobile of ministers began. Premier 
Goremykin was succeeded by Premier Stuermer, Stuermer 
by Trepov and Trepov by Prince Golitzyn, with no ap- 
parent reason. From June, 1915, to the end of 1916 
twenty-one ministers were dropped and new ones ap- 
pointed in their places, all of them belonging to the same 
brand of bureaucrats and adhering to the same policy. 
The country watched this kaleidoscopic change of its 
rulers with amazement but with no hope. It had grown 
to understand that one bureaucrat was as good as another 
and that nothing could be expected from the old system. 

A reactionary publication, the Novoye Fremya, wrote 
in November, 19 16: 

" There is no general management of a general cause. 
Every administrative organ feels itself called for to-day 


only; it does not want to remember what was true yes- 
terday, It does not take the trouble to guess what is com- 
ing to-morrow. The civil work of administration is being 
shredded into a series of casual disconnected orders; the 
ship of state is careening and creaking, driven hither and 
thither by the caprice of changing winds.'' 

The country was growing ever more excited. The ses- 
sions of the Duma, renewed after an interruption of sev- 
eral months, were one continuous series of clashes with 
the administration. " We wish to save the country, the 
bureaucracy opposes,'' — this was the message of the 
Duma to the country. People could see no reason for 
the opposition of the government but the desire to serve 
the enemy's cause. This assumption was confirmed by the 
rumors of treason. 

/" Notwithstanding the prohibition of meetings, a con- 
ference of twenty-eight chairmen of province Zemstvos 
met on October 29, 19 16, to adopt a resolution which 
expressed the anxiety of the people. " The tormenting 
and horrifying suspicion," the resolution says, ** the sin- 
ister rumors of perfidy and treason, of dark forces work- 
ing In favor of Germany to destroy the unity of the 
nation, to sow discord and thus prepare conditions for an 
Ignominious peace, have now reached the clear certainty 
that the hand of the enemy secretly influences the affairs 
of our state/* It was known that representatives of the 
Black Hundred repeatedly visited the army headquarters 
urging the Tzar to conclude a separate peace In order 
to prevent a victory of the revolution. The revolution 
was the work of the Union of Zemstvos and Cities, they 
asserted, of the Military Industrial Committee, of the 
conferences of liberal organizations. ** The radical par- 
ties," one of the black memoranda said, '' desire a pro- 
longation of the war to gain time to organize and prepare 
a revolution." It was known that Colonel Myasoyedov, 
a friend of the War Minister and a member of the gen- 
eral staff of the Tenth Army, was executed for treason. It 

396 MARCH, 19 1 7 

was known that General Suchomlinov, former Minister 
of War, was in the fortress of Peter and Paul, charged 
with treason. 

Such was the mood of the country when on November 
I, 19 1 6, the Imperial Duma and Council convened after 
the summer recess. Professor D. D. Grimm, representa- 
tive of the academic group in the Council, gave an ade- 
quate description of the situation. " There are moments 
in the life of nations," he said, ** when silence is wrong, 
and we have no right to close our eyes to the conditions 
which alarm our country. I refer to the growing estrange- 
ment between the people and the government, to the deep 
discord between the government and thinking Russia, to 
the ever-growing mistrust which becomes the character- 
istic relation between those two factors of our national 
life. The Russian people decidedly mistrust the Rus- 
sian government^ and the Russian government just as de- 
cidedly mistrusts the Russian people. This is fraught 
with the gravest national danger. It cannot and ought 
not to be continued any longer. One cannot fight simul- 
taneously on two fronts: with the external enemy and 
with the people in the country. One ought not to ex- 
tinguish the power of the people which is of the greatest 
value in times of national trial. Does the government 
understand this ? I assert that it understands neither the 
greatness of the moment, nor the concrete obvious prob- 
lems it has to fulfil. No co-operation with a government 
of this kind is possible, and do not tell me that now is no 
time for raising such questions, that everything ought to 
be postponed till after the war. In this grave historic 
moment the Russian people need a government of honest 
and brave men, devoted to the constitutional order, 
equipped with a definite program and supported by a 
majority of the representatives of the people. This is 
necessary in order that the great goal should be reached 
with a minimum of sacrifices on the part of the people." 

The majority of the Council agreed with this program. 


In the Duma, Kerenski and Tchcheidze, the leader of 
the Social-Democratic group, openly spoke of an im- 
pending revolution. The country was ready, they 
asserted, the masses would take their fate into their own 
hands; from the Duma it was required that it should not 
block their way, that it should identify itself with the 
revolutionary people when the great upheaval came. 

An unusual impression was made by the speech of the 
Duma deputy, Vladimir Purlshkevitch, hitherto a notor- 
ious leader of the Black Hundred. The speech was a 
severe criticism of the inability, the indolence, the selfish- 
ness of the government. Purishkevitch pointed openly 
at the existence of a German party in the ranks of the 
Russian autocracy. '* Now," he said, *' the problem is 
not whether the government has confidence in the people, 
but whether the people can have confidence in the govern- 
ment. The authority and the patriotism of the govern- 
ment are under suspicion. The disorganization of the 
war is undoubtedly being created by the aid of a Ger- 
man party, which works with amazing persistency.** 
Purishkevitch's accusations were especially characteristic 
of the moment, the man being connected with high offi- 
cials and supposed to have " inside '* information. 

The political atmosphere became more heated every 
day. Strikes and street manifestation of workingmen in 
Petrograd and other cities had begun in October, 19 16, 
and were growing to be a frequent occurrence. Zemstvos, 
city councils and all kinds of liberal organizations were 
sending greetings to the Duma, urging it to fight bravely 
for a responsible government. On November 4th, the 
Minister of War, General Shuvayev, and the Minister of 
the Navy, Admiral Grigorovitch, made in the Duma con- 
ciliatory speeches, Shuvayev saying that '' the national 
defense imperatively demanded a co-operation of the 
ministers with the Duma.*' Both ministers were hailed 
by the Duma, by a number of merchants' associations, by 
the Union of Zemstvos, by mayors of various cities. 

398 MARCH, 19 1 7 

People believed it to be the beginning of concessions on 
the part of the government. It was not. 

The administration continued Its policy of suppression. 
The speeches of the radical and many moderate Duma 
deputies were not allowed to be published. The news- 
papers, including the 7Voi;oy^/^r^m}'^, appeared with large 
blank spaces, — the work of the censor. The declaration 
of the Progressive Bloc, as it appeared in the newspapers, 
was a mockery: it contained about sixty lines of print and 
200 lines of blank space ! The Russian government was 
anxious to withhold the truth from the people, failing to 
see that large blank spaces in the moderate newspapers 
were of a more disquieting character than the most alarm- 
ing news. The Zemshchina, the organ of the Black Hun- 
dred, wrote about the " most shameless and criminal 
speeches sounded at the mob-gathering in the Duma,*' 
and urged the government to apply violence. ** If civil 
authorities are not sufficient,'' it urged, " there are mili- 
tary authorities which can act according to martial law. 
Let them step forth. Let them eliminate the Milukovs." 
On November loth. Premier Stuermer was replaced by 
A. Th. Trepov, but people only shrugged their shoulders : 
there was not the slightest trace of difference between 
one man and the other. Stuermer was gone, but Proto- 
popov, the most hated Minister of the Interior and the 
actual head of internal affairs, remained. 

In November, a court prosecution was started against 
Milukov for his speech in the Duma. In December a 
reservist, who had been a journalist connected with the 
Black Hundred, made sensational revelations of his 
negotiations with the leader of the Black Hundred, Dr. 
Dubrovin, who had hired him for 200 rubles to kill 
Milukov. On December 9th, conferences of the 
Union of Zemstvos and Union of Cities, assembled in 
Moscow, were dissolved by armed police force. On 
December loth, an officer despatched by the Moscow 
chief of police, appeared at the executive session of the 



Towards the end of 191 6 and the beginning of 19 17 
the country once more represented one solid front. Prac- 
tically all classes, groups, parties were unanimous in their 
opposition to the existing order and in the expectation of 
radical changes. Even the land-owning nobility arraigned 
itself against the autocratic system, whose main support 
it had been through all the years of reaction. Late in 
November a national convention of the nobility was held, 
which in strong and unequivocal language denounced the 
influence of dark, irresponsible forces over the affairs of 
the state and the church, and insisted upon the urgency 
of creating a government strong through the confidence 
of the people, and capable of co-operation with the legis- 
lative bodies. This was the most characteristic sign of 
the times. The government remained practically with- 
out support. The peasantry showed little unrest, but it 
was clear that they would not rise to the help of the decay- 
ing order. 

As to the Black Hundred, this noisy group seemed to 
be rapidly dwindling. '' Where are the monarchists (alias 
the Black Hundred) ? " the reactionary Moscow Courier 
asks, at the end of 19 16, and the paper answers: part 
of them, disappointed, ** consciously and with apparent 
spite have severed all relations with the active monarchist 
movement. The remaining monarchist organizations 
have mostly lost their credit, and justly so, in the eyes 
of the population. They have grown mean, they have 
lost all ideal conceptions, they have become groups of 
private interests and private ambitions. The majority of 
them are so compromised through the actions of their 



leaders, they have grown so odious in the eyes of the 
world that their impotence is apparent; nobody will re- 
spond to their appeal. . . . The thunderstroke has come, 
calamity faces us, and we prove to be helpless, pitiful 
and poor." 

It is worth noting, this confession of a well-informed 
publication, that the *' thunderstroke " had come. This 
was written more than two months before the final col- 
lapse of the monarchy in Russia. 

On January nth the papers brought news about the 
Duma deputies who were returning to Petrograd after 
the Christmas and New Year's vacation. One news item 
reads: "The halls of the Tauric Palace again stir with 
life. Every day new hosts of deputies are returning to 
Petrograd, notwithstanding the postponement of the ses- 
sion. Many deputies have visited the front during their 
vacation. AH of them have things to tell about the pre- 
vailing sentiment in the country. A curious fact has been 
noted throughout the country: there are no longer any 
conservatives. Many of those who have been known as 
ardent members of the Black Hundred have renounced 
their former convictions in the most decided manner, 
going so far in their radicalism that they arouse amaze- 
ment even among the most radical deputies. The idea of 
a responsible government has gained the support of circles 
which were hitherto considered the mainstays of the exist- 
ing order. Under the pressure of life, those neophytes 
of radicalism speak openly and frankly about the founda- 
tions on which the new order ought to he based. In spite 
of the postponement of the session, the population de- 
mands that the deputies be at their posts. The deputies, 
therefore, deem it necessary to have private gatherings to 
exchange opinions on the current political problems.'' 

Thus the population gave the members of the Duma 
a clear mandate to remain at their posts and fight for a 
new order. Everybody felt that it was no longer a ques- 
tion of years. Events were in the air. 

402 MARCH, 19 1 7 

In December the notorious Grigory Rasputin, the illit- 
erate Siberian monk who had a sinister influence over the 
Tzar and had been more powerful in state affairs than 
the actual cabinet, was killed by members of the high 
aristocracy. This proved to the population that even in 
court circles there was a group hostile to the party in 

The latter, however, continued its work of destruction. 
Late in December the elections to the municipality of 
Moscow, resulting in a progressive majority, were an- 
nulled. Early in January, Shcheglovitov, one of the 
deepest reactionaries, former Minister of Justice in the 
cabinet of Stolypin, and author of the Bailis case, was 
appointed speaker of the Imperial Council, " to tame the 
tempestuous old men of the upper chamber," as was said 
in Petrograd. On January loth, Protopopov, the Minis- 
ter of the Interior, called the attention of the military 
authorities of Petrograd and Moscow to the fact that the 
military censors were not eflicient enough in deciphering 
the hidden meaning of certain political press communica- 
tions *' which appear to be perfectly lawful, but in reality 
contain attacks on the government." The minister sug- 
gested supplementing the military censors with experts 
from the offices under his jurisdiction. On January 20th 
the police raided the headquarters of the workmen's rep- 
resentatives of the National Military Industrial Com- 
mittee; later all the representatives, with the exception 
of two, were imprisoned. The quarters of many other 
workmen's representatives in the local military industrial 
committees were raided and the representatives arrested. 
On February 7th the mayor of Moscow was informed 
that both he and the city council would be tried for po- 
litical resolutions passed by the council. 

Feverishly, blindly, the dying bureaucratic machinery 
was doing Its work. Already a wave of political 
strikes was rising in February, becoming ever broader. 
The remaining two members of the workmen's faction In 


the Military Industrial Committee, deeming the strike 
detrimental to the cause of national defense, ordered an 
appeal to the workingmen to stop the strike. The ad- 
ministration suppressed the appeal. It was as if some 
" diabolical hand " was doing this sinister work of ruin, 
as a Duma deputy expressed it. 
Then came the collapse. 

The history of the great revolution of February- 
March, 19 17, is too recent to permit a critical survey; 
on the other hand, it is too fresh in the memory of all 
to need an elaborate exposition. What can be given in 
this connection is a brief outline of the most conspicuous 
features of this crucial moment in the history of the 

Those features can be thus summed up: 

1. A mass-movement of the inhabitants of Petrograd, 
manifesting itself in demonstrations, processions, open- 
air meetings, dense crowds in the streets. The partici- 
pants in those gatherings arc not only workingmen, but 
practically all classes and groups of the population. The 
movement is actuated by hunger, starvation, due to the 
exorbitant cost of living, but it is sustained also by a spirit 
of political excitement which grows ever more acute. 

2. The soldiers of the Petrograd garrison, the guard 
regiments and others, are loath to fire on the people. As 
the mass-movement grows, it becomes apparent that the 
army units are in accord with the entire country. Soon 
the revolutionary spirit spreads among the garrison, which 
begins to fraternize with the people. This marks the end 
of the old regime. 

3. The mass-movement, like the movement of the sol- 
diers, is not organized, has no leading center. Every- 
thing seems to have the character of a spontaneous out- 
burst. It is only natural that the Duma, the only national 

404 MARCH, 19 17 

representation, becomes the center of the revolution and 
assumes leadership in the moment of crisis. 

4. The more radical elements in the revolution lack 
perfect confidence in the democratic tendencies of the 
majority of the Duma. The radical elements are repub- 
lican, whereas the majority of the Duma has hitherto been 
in favor of a constitutional monarchy. The radical ele- 
ments, therefore, hasten to form their own center, the 
Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies, which 
becomes a momentous factor in the development of the 

5. The revolution, remembering the failures of 
1905-06, makes a clean sweep. It admits no compromise, 
arresting the most dangerous representatives of the old 
system, discharging others, breaking down the entire ad- 
ministrative apparatus of autocracy, including the mon- 
archy, substituting everywhere authorities appointed by 
the people and acting with the consent of the people. 

As to the course of events, it appears in the following 

On February 14th * the Duma convened. On the 
same day a political strike was called by the Social-Demo- 
cratic groups. General Chabalov, commander of the 
Petrograd military district, had given warning that strikes 
would be suppressed by military force. Nevertheless, on 
the day of the opening of the Duma more than 100,000 
workingmen went on strike in Petrograd and 25,000 in 
Moscow. The strike lasted more than one day. The 
Petrograd workingmen intended to march to the build- 
ing of the Duma to make a manifestation in favor of a 
new government, but were halted by armed police. 
Machine-guns were put on factory premises, and gather- 
ings were fired upon. 

*The reader must be reminded that the dates are quoted in this work 
according to the Russian calendar, which is 13 days behind the 
^^uropean and American calendar. 


The Duma convened in a mood of fervent opposition. 
The commotion among the masses strengthened the hands 
of the deputies. The masses were becoming more restless 
every day. The food-crisis was acute. Long lines waited 
for hours at the doors of bakeries. Prices became pro- 
hibitive. For several days there was no bread to be had 
at any price. Starved, haggard figures were seen in the 

On February 21st part of the Putilov plant went on 
strike. The plant was closed down. In the following 
days the strike spread over many other factories. On 
February 23rd the electric street cars stopped for a few 
hours, the conductors joining the strike. On February 
24th there were open-air meetings and processions on the 
Nevski Prospect, the main street of Petrograd. Speeches 
were made. The slogans, '* Bread " and *' Freedom,'' 
were sounded. 

On February 25th the nervous tension was increased. 
The street cars stopped. The workmen's quarters were 
full of excitement. Nobody was permitted to come from 
the suburbs to the center of the town. Still, a crowd 
of about 10,000 workmen and students gathered on 
Nevski. There was a manifestation, and revolutionary 
hymns were sung. From the windows the marchers were 
greeted by cheering people waving white and red hand- 
kerchiefs. Soldiers were lined on the curbs. Cossacks 
rode through Nevski, but attacked nobody. The crowd 
was in a cheerful mood. Words were passed that the 
soldiers would not fire on the people. Soon the rumors 
became a certainty. New peaceful detachments of Cos- 
sacks arrived. The crowds greeted them enthusiastically. 
" Hurrah for the army I " was heard here and there. 
Meetings were improvised in the streets. Orators ad- 
dressed the soldiers, summoning to unity with the nation, 
to a decisive battle against the old system. In several 
places shots were fired, yet the people were confident that 
this was the work of policemen. 

4o6 MARCH, 19 17 

February 26th was the bloodiest day of the revolution 
: — the second bloody Sunday after January 9, 1905. 
The streets were crowded with all classes of people, in- 
cluding wounded soldiers. The crowds were peaceful. 
Military patrols were posted on the street corners, but 
they did not interfere with the movements of the crowd. 
About 3 P.M. automobiles with machine-guns ran through 
Nevski, and immediately the rattle of shots was heard. 
A panic followed. The crowds ran in all directions. On 
the corner of the Sadovaya Street and Nevski Prospect a 
detachment of soldiers was placed, firing along Nevski in 
both directions. Volleys were fired also from roofs, from 
towers where machine-guns had been placed. After the 
Nevski was cleared, the soldiers and police began to fire 
along the streets crossing the Nevski. Hundreds were 
killed. The indignation was great, but there was no fear. 
Towards evening the streets were again filled with 
dense crowds. In the barracks of the various regiments 
the excitement was intense. The soldiers were confronted 
with the possibility of firing on their brothers. The gen- 
eral sentiment was to refuse to murder. 

On this Sunday, in various suburbs of Petrograd, work- 
ingmen were already electing representatives to the Coun- 
cil of Workmen's Deputies. 

On the night of February 27th an appeal of General 
Chabalov was issued, ordering the workingmen to return 
to their work on Tuesday and giving warning that those 
who continued to strike would be sent to the front. This 
appeal the workingmen did not permit to be posted in 
the workmen's quarters. On Monday, February 27th, 
the revolutionary enthusiasm swept the entire city. The 
military patrols had been removed, the administration 
could not rely on them any longer. The passages from 
the suburbs to the center were clear. Throngs were 
marching, among them many soldiers, red banners in their 
hands. At noon the entire Volynski regiment declared 
itself on the side of the people. Delegations of this regi- 




ment went to the barracks of other regiments to urge 
them to join the people's cause. Groups of soldiers and 
workmen seized passing automobiles, to use them for the 
purpose of transporting rifles and ammunition. The auto- 
mobiles, filled with soldiers and decorated with red flags, 
aroused a wild enthusiasm. The number of soldiers join- 
ing the revolution grew every hour. A crowd of soldiers 
and workingmen opened the Viborg prison (the famous 
"Cross'*), freeing the inmates, among whom were the 
workmen's representatives of the Military Industrial 
Committee. Another crowd opened the House of Pre- 
liminary Imprisonment (** Predvarilka "), freed the in- 
mates and set the building on fire. Later the fortress of 
Peter and Paul was taken. Military processions marched 
through the streets carrying red banners and singing revo- 
lutionary songs. Part of the troops still remained loyal 
to the old government, firing from roofs and trying to 
close the Liteini bridge. But it was apparent that their 
number was decreasing. 

A delegation of 25,000 soldiers who had joined the rev- 
olution went to the building of the Duma. Many other 
delegations and crowds of civilians and soldiers gathered 
in and around the Duma. All eyes were turned to the 
only existing national center. On the previous Saturday, 
February 25th, the members of the Duma had had a 
joint session with the Petrograd city council, representa- 
tives of workmen's organizations and a number of other 
persons well known in the community. It had been de- 
cided not to await the decisions of the government, but to 
form immediately a number of committees and provide 
for the needs of the population. On Sunday M. V. 
Rodzianko, speaker of the Duma, telegraphed to the 
Tzar at army headquarters : 

** The situation is serious. There Is anarchy in the 
streets. The government Is paralyzed. Transportation, 
food and fuel supplies are In a state of total confusion. 
The general dissatisfaction grows. Disorderly shooting 

4o8 MARCH, 19 1 7 

is going on in the streets. Parts of the troops fire on each 
other. It is necessary to immediately authorize a person 
enjoying the confidence of the country to form a new gov- 
ernment. No delay is permissible. Any delay is equiva- 
lent to death. I pray to God that in this hour the respon- 
sibility does not fall on the Bearer of the Crown."» 

The reply was an order of the Tzar adjourning the 
Duma till some time in April. The order was received 
on Monday, February 27th, when the revolutionary army 
and the revolutionary population were already gathering 
around the Duma. The Duma decided to stay. Rodzi- 
anko made a final appeal to the Tzar. He telegraphed : 

*' The situation is becoming worse. Measures ought 
to be taken immediately; to-morrow it will be too late. 
The last hour has struck for the fate of the Fatherland 
and the Dynasty to be decided. 


No reply from the Tzar was forthcoming. 

The pressure of the revolutionary army on the Duma 
was in the meantime becoming stronger. The soldiers 
declared they were ready to take the Duma under their 
armed protection. The members of the Duma, Kerenski, 
Tchcheidze and Skobelev (Social-Democrat) addressed 
the soldiers in front of the Duma building. Skobelev 
announced that the old system was no longer in existence, 
that the Duma was having a session to decide how to 
establish order. He urged the people to organize, to act 
in solidarity, to keep order, to commit no violent acts 
against the defenders of the old regime, but to convey 
them to the Duma and hand them over to the new people's 
authorities. " Freedom demands discipline and order,'* 
he said. 

At 3 p.M the soldiers around the Duma were notified 
that the Duma had decided to form a Provisional Com- 
mittee to handle the situation. The Provisional Commit- 
tee issued the following appeal to the population: 


**The Provisional Committee of the members of the 
Imperial Duma, aware of the grave conditions of internal 
disorder created by the measures of the old government, 
has found itself compelled to take into its hands the re- 
establishment of political and civil order. In full con- 
sciousness of the responsibility of its decision, the Pro- 
visional Committee expresses its trust that the population 
and the army will help it in the difficult task of creating 
a new government which will comply with the wishes of 
the population and be able to enjoy its confidence. 


'' speaker of the Imperial Duma. 
"February 27, 1917." 

The news was received with joy by the tense crowds 
which filled the streets, standing shoulder to shoulder. 
The Duma building was already guarded by revolutionary 
military patrols. 

The ministers of the old system showed no signs of 
life. They disappeared. Only Prince Golitzyn informed 
Rodzianko that he had handed in his resignation. 

Late in the afternoon Shcheglovitov, the President of 
the Imperial Council, was arrested by the revolutionary 
people and was placed under custody in the building of 
the Duma. 

In the evening the first formal session of the Council 
of Workmen's Deputies took place. The deputies were 
elected by the workingmen of various factories and Social- 
ist organizations. Chairmen of the meeting elected were 
the Duma deputies Tchcheidze, Kerenski and Skobelev. 
The Council issued an appeal to the people which reads 
in part : 

" The fight is still going on : it must be continued to a 
victorious end. The old system must be completely over- 
thrown and give room to a government by the people. 
In this lies the salvation of Russia. 

4IO MARCH, 19 1 7 

** To finish the struggle successfully, in the interests of 
democracy, the people must create their own powerful 

"The Council of Workmen's Delegates, holding its 
session in the Imperial Duma, makes it its supreme task to 
organize the people's forces and their struggle for a final 
securing of political freedom and popular government 
in Russia. 

" We appeal to the entire population of the capital to 
rally around the Council, to form local committees in the 
various boroughs and to take over the management of 
local affairs. 

*' All together, with united forces, we will struggle 
for a final abolition of the old system and the calling of 
a Constituent Assembly on the basis of universal, equal, 
direct and secret suffrage." 

On Monday evening the Union of Journalists pub- 
lished the first Bulletin giving information about the 
progress of the revolution. 

On Tuesday, February 28th, the revolutionary army 
increased. Almost the entire garrison was already on 
the side of the people. The old government ordered new 
regiments from other cities to come to Petrograd. They 
arrived singing the Marseillaise. On the roofs there 
were still policemen firing machine-guns, but they were 
being gradually removed and arrested by the revolution- 
ary people. In the course of the day the following ad- 
ministrators of the old regime were arrested : Protopopov, 
Minister of the Interior; Stuermer, former Premier; 
General Kommissarov, known for his pogrom activities; 
Dobrovolski, Minister of Justice; General Chabalov, 
commander of the Petrograd military district; Golitzyn, 
head of the cabinet, and many others. All were placed 
under custody in the Duma building. 

On the same day, the Winter Palace, residence of the 
Romanovs, was taken by the revolutionists. The dis- 


arming of policemen and police officers and the substitu- 
tion for them of a popular militia was in full progress. 

On Wednesday, March ist, the diplomatic representa- 
tives of England and France recognized the Provisional 
Committee of the Duma. 

Moscow, Charkov and Tzaritzyn pledged their sup- 
port to the Provisional Committee. 

The Bulletin of the Council of Workmen^s and Sol- 
diers' Deputies published an article headed: *' Should the 
Romanov dynasty remain in power?" The article em- 
phasized the necessity of overthrowing the Romanovs and 
establishing a demdcratic republic in Russia. To secure 
a democratic control over the army, the Council issued an 
order to the soldiers to elect soldiers* committees in every 
unit, the committees to have the stores of ammunition in 
their command; the soldiers had to keep discipline in the 
ranks and to obey the officers when on duty, the Council 
urged. When not on duty, however, they were supposed 
to be equal to the officers. The order was received with 
enthusiasm by the revolutionary army. On the same day 
Rodzianko, in the name of the Provisional Committee, 
issued an order prohibiting the officers from disarming 
the revolutionary soldiers. 

Numerous other officials of the old system were 

On Thursday, March 2nd, the negotiations between the 
Duma and the Workmen's Council as to the formation 
of a provisional government and its program, came to a 
successful conclusion. A provisional government was 
formed with Prince G. E. Lvov, President of the Union 
of Zemstvos, as premier. 

On Thursday, March 2nd, Tzar Nicholas II signed 
his abdication in favor of his brother Michail, and on 
Thursday, March 3rd, Michail abdicated, appealing to 
the people to support the Provisional Government. 

Monarchy in Russia was overthrown. The dream of 
generations became true. 



Growth of Principal Cities 

(According to V. I. Pokrovski, in Russia at the End of the Nineteenth 
Century, published by the Ministry of Finance) 


St. Petersburg 













* Ekaterinoslav . . . . 






* Libau 


* Tzaritzyn 

* Ivanovo- Vosnesenk 



Number of Inhabitants 

































Increase of the 
























* Lodz is the center of the textile-industry in the Polish Provinces; 
Ekaterinoslav, the center of the coal-districts in Southern Russia; Baku, 
the center of the oil-industry in the Caucasus, on the Caspian Sea; 
Libau, a port on the Baltic Sea ; Tzaritzyn, a port on the Volga ; Ivanovo- 
Vosnesensk, the center of the textile-industry in Central Russia. 













a ° 

2 ^ 








■ p^ 


o t^ 


en O O •-• 





N »n 


r^ On M ON 





« VN 




« M^ en W 

no'no* »o en 






r^ 0-> 


OO rt- en ^ 





^ « 






O On 


M OO C< M 






M On 


M N O »^ 









Th en -"^ vn 







yr\ c^ 


t^ tnNo" O 






rj- CO 


t>. en en On 






»o c* 




O Th 


en en f>j ^ 






^ en 


M O OO t>» 









Onoo en Th 








c^ enocT to 








en en c>l t^ 







-d- N 







O Q 


M On M M 






a Q 








en O 


M t<N i^ en 





*k *« *« «« 





en en 


VO t^ l^ N 







en O 


en N « t"^ 












CO en 


en M ^>o 





t^ « 


O On en rt" 





M N 


t^ •^ M en 





•k 0>l 


•, #% ^ *» 


On m 


O ON l-l »>. 








en M r< NO 






en M 






!>» O »0 O" 





0^ M 


0» On vn On 





N M 


00^*0 10 





mt «h 


#« *« *ik «k 








« »0 ON N 





''t «*• 


O ^ »ooo 













OO vn 









»ooo en rf- 








C* en M O 





•k «N 





t-^ t>. 


M to b«. O 







en c» 


On ^ to t^ 





4-* ai 


OO so 








TD 3 

ON o 


NO On O e^ 






« O 


t^ N NO t^ 





of the 



Oj t^ 


OO to »o ^ 

OO t^ On ^ 






N On 


en r» en en 






vo en 



t> a 


3 o 

to !>«. 


tv. ^ O en 






VO Ti- 


t^ o to Ti- 






en On 


enoo ts^ tn 






*« «s •« •^ 






en en On N 






H On 


en ci c* en 




vn en 






OO O On to 






OO en O VO 






O N, 


NO O to On 

»« «H «« I 





en »o 


to M M OO 






vo 1^ 


N « N N 






rh «o 





On « 


t~«. N On en 





6 ifl r^ 

Tt M 


to en NO M 





'^ S C On 

^ to 


en to tv Tt; 







rf en 




• • 

♦ • • • 





* • 


. • • • na . 





• : m 

c • 






75 o fl3 t) • u'e 





Ih V3 





O "T3 w C CO' 


OJ 3 







Number of Workingmen in Russia in 1897 
(According to Pogoshev, An Account of the Number of Workingmen) 


















2.722. 8qO 






T^ J, 1 J7 

2.'? 00.776 

Post, Telegraph, Telephone 



Commerce in general 

Dav Laborers 







Concentration of Workingmen in Factories (1879-1902) 

(According to Pogoshev) 



















« ^ 

^ ^ 

« ^ 

^ ^ 

^ fe 

« ^ 

^ ^ 

" &: 

Employing ) 

100-499 [ 









workingmen ) 

Employing ) 

500-999 \ 









workingmen ) 

Employing ) 

over 1,000 > 









workingmen ) 













Concentration of Workingmen in Cotton Manufactories 

[Data cover fifty provinces of European Russia] 

(According to Tugan-Baranovski, The Russian Factory) 


Factories Em- 
ploying over 








1 00-500 



^ 1 



1 1 


d § 






1- « 

55 £ 



1 ^ 























Wages of Russian Factory Workers, i 900-1 901 

(Data collected by Factory Inspectors covering 12,702 industrial concerns 

with a total of 1,275,102 workingmen) 





















Mixed Fabrics 


Wooden Products . . 

Metal Products 

Mining and Smelting 
Animal Products . . . 













Yearly Wages 
(in Kubles) 






Distribution of Land and Cattle Among the Peasants in the 

Province of Samara 

[Data cover 28,276 families' totaling 164,146 persons. Table shows the 
inequality in land-holding notwithstanding the communal ownership 
on land] 

(According to Ilyin) 

Groaps of Peasants 


j Owning no cattle 

( Owning i piece of cattle 

j Owning 2-3 pieces of cattle 
( Owning 4 pieces of cattle 

( Owning 5-10 pieces of cattle 
Wealthy -J Owning 10-20 pieces of cattle 
( Owning 20 pieces and more 



Distribution of Land Among the Various Groups of Peasants in Three 
Counties of the Tauric Province (1891) 

[Table shows the inequality in land-distribution, notwithstanding com- 
munal ownership on land] 


(According to Ilyin) 



Land tilicd by each 


(IB dessatin) 

Percentage of 
the namoer of 
families in each 
groop to the 
total nnmber of 

Average area 
of land tilled 
by each fam- 
ily (in des- 

Total area of 
land tilled by 
each i^oap (in 

Percentage of 
land area tilled 
by each group 
to the total area 








Not over 5. . .> 
From 5 to 10 
From 10 to 25 
From 25 to 50. 
Over 50 


11.7 J- 40.2 
21.0 ) 








n1 \ ^2.1 




Absolutism, simplicity of conception 
of, 56, 57; as supreme power 
in action, 57, 58 ; as guardian of 
the Orthodox Church, 58; as 
true expression of Russian na- 
tional spirit, 58, 59; as a system 
of duties, 59 ; as opposed to par- 
liamentary system, 60; as op- 
posed to written law and its 
guarantees, 60; as a ** unity of 
intelligent will," 62; as guaran- 
tee against " evils of democracy," 
62-65 ; as God's representation on 
earth, 65, 66; mistrusting the 
people, 67, 68 ; Germans in the 
machinery of, 69-72; spirit of a 
foreign invader in the methods 
of> 72, 73 ; indifferent to local 
affairs, 73, 74; decentralization 
of the machinery of, 74, 75 ; 
quelling the rebellious spirit, 75 ; 
hampering social life by rules 
and regulations, 75-77; encour- 
aging bribery, 77-79; treating 
social movements as " disorder," 
79, 80; alarmed by surging un- 
rest, 80; recovering after the 
October strike, 143, 148; wreak- 
ing vengeance upon the revolu- 
tionists, 160-168; preparing for 
second Duma, 180, 181, 184; 
change in general attitude to- 
wards, 380; fighting against peo- 
ple in war-time, 393, 394; col- 
lapse of, 400-411. 

Administrators (see also Abso- 
lutism), types of, in literature, 

Agrarian problem (see Peasants). 

Agrarian reform, of 1861 (aboli- 
tion of serfdom), 28-31, 32; as 
recommended by Agriculture 
Conmiission, 91 ; of 1903^ 91 ; of 
^905 (abolition of redemption 
payments), 141; of Nov. 9th, 
1906 (abolition of village-com- 
munity), 182-183; 359"36'- 

Agrarian revolts (see Peasants). 

Andreyev, Leonid (cited), 221-226 

Army, revolutionary movement in 
(October-November, 1905), 142, 
143; unrest in (summer, ipo(5), 
181, 182; disinclined to fire on 
people (191T), 403; fraternizing 
with people, 405; regiment join- 
ing revolution, 406, 407; delega- 
tion to the Duma, 407; pressure 
on the Duma, 408 ; as a body up- 
holding revolution, 410. 

Article 5/, 364, 365, 393, 394 

Autocracy (see Absolutism). 

Azev, 185, 337. 

Bailis, Mendel, 370-371. 

Balmashov, Stepan, 340-341. 

Bible, as proof of peasants' claims 
on land, 245-248. 

Black Hundred, origin of, 139-140; 
activities in the October pogroms, 
140, 141; proclamations, 167; 
helping elect reactionary candi- 
dates, 171; in second Duma, 185; 
privileged position after 190/^ 
372; disappearing towards /pi/, 
400, 401. 

Bolsheviki, 375-379. 

Bulletin, of Workmen's Council, on 
political situation in October, 
19OS, 142; of Workmen's Coun- 
cil on armed revolution in 
December, 190^^ 157; of Jour- 
nalists, February, i9iTt 410; of 
Workmen's Council (in 1917)^ on 
a republic, 411. 

Bureaucrats (see Administration). 

Caucasians, 116, 369. 

Chabalov, General, 404, 410. 

Cities, Union of, 386, 387; prose- 
cuted, 398. 

City Councils, petitions of, in 1904^ 
ICO, loi ; in favor of responsible 
government, Jp75-/(5, 390, 391. 

Cohan-Bernstein, Leo, 337-339. 

Constitutional Democratic Party 
(Cadets), formation of, 141, 142; 
in favor of peace and order after 
October manifesto, 151-154; rep- 




resentation in first Duma, 172, 
176; in second Duma, 184; criti- 
cizing government in fourth 
Duma, 381 ; in the Progressive 
Bloc, 389. 

Co-operative organizations, growth 
of, 380. 

Council, of Workmen Deputies 
{see also Labor and Working- 
men) ; formation of, 144; char- 
acter of, 144; on continuing the 
October strike, 145 ; on armed 
resistance, 145, 146; on an eight- 
hour work-day, 146, 147; de- 
claring second general strike, 
147, 148 ; pressure on the govern- 
ment, 147, 148 ; president ar- 
rested, 149 ; " Financial Mani- 
festo " of, 149 ; arrest of, 149 ; 
declaring third general strike, 
154; of Workmen and Soldiers, 
404, 406; proclamation of, 409; 
in Provisional Government, 411. 

Council, Imperial, 172; rejecting 
Duma bills, 176; in favor of re- 
sponsible government (ipid), 396. 

Courts, after iQO^y 365, 366. 

Dmitrieva, V. (cited), 310-311. 

Duma, Imperial, institution of, as 
promised August 6, 190^^ 132; 
to have legislative power, 137; 
elections, 1906, 171-172; pathetic 
situation before opening of, 172, 
173 ; building of, 173 ; opening 
of, 173, 174; address to the Tzar, 
174, 175; clash with govern- 
ment, 175, 176; bills, 176; in- 
terpellations, 177; investigating 
Byalostock pogrom, 177; disso- 
lution of, 178 ; framing Vyborg 
manifesto, 179 ; new elections 
(jp07), 184; second, general 
character of, 184, 185; second, 
dissolution of, 185; new electoral 
law (June 3, 1907), 185, i86; 
situation after Jpo/, 363-365; 
national center, 380, 381 ; indig- 
nant opposition {1913), 387-390; 
Progressive Bloc, 389, 390, 391 ; 
struggle with autocracy {1916- 

17) y 395, 396, 397» 398, 399; man- 
date from people to uphold lib- 
erty, 401 ; center of revolution 
(1917)* 403* 404; forming Pro- 

visional Committee, 408, 409;. 
and Provisional Government, 

Exile, 353-355- 
"Expropriations," 336, 337. 

Factories, sanitary conditions of, 

13, 15; medical aid in, 13. 
Field Court-Martial, 182. 
Finns, 79, 369; robbed of autonomy, 

Freedom, days of, after October 
manifesto, 138, 169, 170; of 
speech and assemblage, after 
Jpo/, 367, 368. 

Gapon, Georg, 103, 104, 105, 106, 

107, no, III, 112. 
" Gathering of Industrial Work- 
ers," 103, 104, 105, 106. 
Golitzyn, Prince, Premier, 394; 

resignation of, 409; arrest of, 

Goremykin, 175, 394. 
Gorky, Maxim (cited), 215-221; 

Grigoryev, R. (cited), 300-306. 
Grimm, D. D., Professor, in the 

Imperial Council, 396. 
Guide-posts, 374-375- 
Gutchkov, Alexander, against a 

victory of the revolution, 151. 

Industry, development of, 4-9; 
total production between 1887 
and 1897^ 8; political needs of, 
as expressed in petitions of 1905^ 
125-127; in conflict with govern- 
ment over means to appease 
labor, 127-130; disgusted with 
the revolution, 150, 151; ap- 
peased by promise of order, 186, 
187; situation after 1907^ 362, 
363 ; Military Committee, 386, 
387, 383, 399; demanding re- 
sponsible government, 390. 

Intellectuals, general characteris- 
tics of, 44-50; on the eve of Jan- 
uary 9th in Petersburg, in; on 
an armed revolution after Jan- 
uary 9th, 113, 114; organized in 
" Unions," 123 ; ignoring legal 
restrictions, 124; disappointed 
after defeat of revolution, 187; 
types of, in literature, 307-335; 



situation after 1907 ^ 363 ; differ- 
ing from workingmen and peas- 
ants in revolution, 307-310; 
moods of, after igoy, 373-375- 

January 9th, 107-113. 

Jews, oppression of, 79 ; source of 
police revenue, 79; revolutionary 
movement among, n6; blood 
accusations against, 370; and 
Bailis case, 370-371 ; patriotic in 
world war, 384; accused of dis- 
loyalty, 384. 

Kalyayev, Ivan, 336, 341-343. 

Katkov, M. N., 57-60. 

Kerenski, Alexander, 387, 389, 396; 
appealing to the people, 399 ; ad- 
dressing soldiers, 408; in Work- 
men's Council, 409. 

Labor (see also Workingmen and 
Council of Workmen), concentra- 
tion of, in industry, 11; laws, 13, 
17, 18, 19; unrest, 17 {see also 
Strikes) ; " legal " ways opened 
by the government for, 20, 21, 
22; in times of crises, 22, 23; 
movement stronger in border 
provinces, 88; movement assum- 
ing revolutionary significance, 88, 
89; in the Shidlovsky Commis- 
sion, 115; alone in the field in 
December, I905y 155; not or- 
ganized for prolonged strikes, 
155, 156; unions after 1907^ 380. 

Landlords {see also Nobility), at- 
titude towards peasants, 41, 42; 
urging government to suppress 
revolution, 159; in favor of a re- 
sponsible government (1917), 

Letts, 79, 116, 369. 

Lithuanians, 79, 369. 

Mensheviki, 375-379. 

Meshcherski, Vladimir, Prince 
(cited), 199-205. 

Michail Alexandrovitch, abdica- 
tion of, 411. 

Military Industrial Committee {see 
Industry) . 

Milukov, Paul, 387, 388, 389. 

Mirtov, O. (cited), 331-334- 

Moscow rebellion, 157, 158. 

Mouijel (cited), 258-259. 

Muromtzev, Professor, speaker of 
first Duma, 174. 

Narodniki, 47, 48. 

Navy, revolt on "Potyomkin," 131; 
mutiny on " Pamyat Azova," 181. 

Nicholas II, Tzar, and " absurd 
illusions," 54; "forgiving the 
guilt" of January 9th, 114, 115; 
receiving Black Hundred dele- 
gations, 150; addressing deputies 
of first Duma, 173; identifying 
himself with Black Hundred, 
369; abdication of, 411. 

Nobility {see also Landlords), con- 
vention of, on political reforms 
as a means of restoring order, 
130, 131 ; hailing coup d'etat, 186; 
demanding responsible govern- 
ment (/pi(5), 400. 

October, 1905^ general strike, 134- 
136; manifesto, 136-137; rejoic- 
ing over the manifesto, 138; 
slaughter and pogroms, 138, 139; 
split in revolutionary ranks, 143. 

Octobrists Party, formation of, 142 ; 
in second Duma, 184; in the Pro- 
gressive Bloc, 389. 

Osivoboshdenie, 54, 93. 

Passports, 76. 

Peasants, position of, prior to i86if 
27; freeing of, from serfdom, 
28-31 ; land returned to the land- 
lords, 29; redemption payments, 
29, 30; causes of poverty of, 32, 
33 ; number of families of, com- 
pared with the area of cultivated 
land, 33; rent, 33, 34; general 
situation at the beginning of 
twentieth century, 34, 35; dis- 
tribution of land in Samara and 
Tauric provinces, 35; hunger for 
land, 37, 38; propaganda among, 
in the 'seventies, 38, 39; re- 
volts in the 'seventies, 39, 40; 
attitude towards rich fellow 
peasants, 40, 41 ; famine among, 
42-43, 361 ; Poltava and Char- 
kov revolts of, in JpO-?, 89-90; 
revolts in 190$, 119, 120; Union, 
132; Union heads arrested, 148; 
revolts in December, 1905^ 159; 
Labor faction in first Duma {see 



Trudoviki), 172; Labor faction 
in second Duma, 184; types of, 
in literature, 227-270; situation 

after 1907^ 359-36i.^ 

Petropavlovski-Karonin, N. (cited), 

Petrunkevitch, M., first speech in 
first Duma, 174. 

Plehve, Von, 97. 

Pobedonostzev, K. P., 61-66. 

Pogrom, in Kishenev (790J), 73, 
93; in Kiev (October, 1905)^ 139; 
number of, in October, 1905 , 140, 
141 ; in Tomsk, 141 ; in Byalo- 
stock, 177. 

Poles, 79, n6; represented in sec- 
ond Duma, 184; victims of na- 
tionalism, 369, 370; patriotic in 
world war, 384. 

Political reforms, promised in the 
ukase of December 12, 19^4^ 
loi ; in the rescript of February 
18, 1905^ 120, 121 ; in summer 
1905, 132. 

"Political Reliability," 77; certifi- 
cates of, 77. 

Population, growth of, 4. 

Press, "illegal," role of, 92, 93; 
throwing off censorship in Octo- 
ber, 1905^ 141 ; situation after 
1907^ 366, 367; growth after 
^907, 379. 380. 

Prison, 346-353- 

Progressive Bloc, formation and 
program, 389, 390, 391. ^ 

Protopopov, on lack of rigid cen- 
sorship, 402; arrest of, 410. 

Provisional Government, 411. 

Punitive expeditions, 162-167. 

Purishkevitch, Vladimir, 397. 

Rasputin, Grigory, 402. 

" Revolutionary Russia,*' 93. 

Revolution of February-March, 
jpj/, general features, 403-404; 
strikes, 404, 405 ; demonstrations, 
405 ; machine-guns, 405, 406 ; 
Provisional Committee, 408, 409; 
Provisional Government, 411. 

Rodzianko, M. V., Duma speaker, 
399; telegram to the Tzar, 407, 
408 ; on formation of Provisional 
Committee, 409; prohibiting dis- 
armament of soldiers, 411. 

Ropshin, V. (cited), 321-326. 

Seraphimovitch, A. (cited), 250- 

Shchedrin (cited), 195-198. 

Shcheglovitov, 402; arrest of, 409. 

Shidlovsky Commiision, 115. 

Siberia i^see Exile). 

Skitaletz (cited), 252-258. 

Skobelev, announcing end of old 
regime, 408 ; in Workmen's Coun- 
cil, 409. 

Social-Democrats, 49 ; represented 
in Workmen's Council, 144; fac- 
tion in first Duma, 176; in sec- 
ond Duma, 184; faction in second 
Duma accused of treason, 185, 
186; Bolsheviki and Mensheviki, 
375-379 ; criticizing government 
in fourth Duma, 381; members 
of Duma exiled, 384; appealing 
to people, 399. 

Socialists, underground work of, 
20; boycotting first Duma elec- 
tions, 171. 

Social-Revolutionary Party, 49; 
terrorists of, 89; opposed to at- 
tacking estates, 90; represented 
in Workmen's Council, 144; in 
second Duma, 184. 

"Spark," 93. 

"Spring," era of, 98; "banquets" 
in the era of, 99, 100; end of, 
101 ; political propaganda in 
time of, 105. 

Stolypin, 182, 185. 

Strikes, in J5p6, 18; number of, 
1895-1904^ 23 ; turning political, 
24; wave of, in 1903^ 92; of De- 
cember 1904, 104, 105 ; general, 
early 1905^ n6-ii8; number of, 
in I905y 118, 119; lack of or- 
ganization of, 119; general, in 
October, 1905^ 134-136; general 
in November, 1905^ 148; re- 
stricted by law of November 
26, 1905^ 149; general character 
of, November, I905y 154; gen- 
eral, in December, 1905^ 157-159; 
in l9Ji'i4y 382, 383 ; in October, 
I9i6y and after, 397 ; political, 
in February, 1917^ 403, 404, 

Struve, Peter, editor of Oswohosh- 
denie, 54 ; on " two strike-com- 
mittees," 152; editor of Polar 
Star, 153. 



Students, strike of, in iSqS-qq^ 86- 

87; province brotherhoods of, 87; 

sent to the army, 87; strikes of, 

in 1910-11, 381, 382. 
Stuermer, Premier, 394; arrest of, 

Svyatopolk Mirski, Prince, attitude 

of, towards labor movement, 80- 

81; as Minister of the Interior, 


Tchcheidze, 396; appealing to the 
people, 399; addressing soldiers, 
408; in Workmen's Council, 409. 

Tchirikov, Evgeni (cited), 261-264. 

Tereshchenko, estates of, destroyed 
by peasants, 264-270. 

Terrorists, assassination of Minister 
Bogolepov, 88 ; members of the 
Socialist-Revolutionary Party, 89 ; 
assassination of Minister Sypya- 
gin, 89; attempt on Von Wahl, 
89; assassination of Von Plehve, 
97; assassination of Bobrikov, 
97; assassination of Grand Duke 
Sergius, 120; types of, 335-345. 

Trepov, Premier, 394, 398. 

Trudoviki (Labor Faction), in first 
Duma, 172; in second Duma, 
184; criticizing government in 
fourth Duma, 381; appealing to 
people, 399. 

Ukrainians, 79, 384. 

Universities {see also Students), 

October, igo^^ meetings in, 134. 
Urusov, Sergius, Prince, 73, 74, 78, 

79; revelations of governmental 

pogrom activities, 177. 
Uspenski, Gleb (cited), 227-247. 

Vengerov, S. A. (quoted), 192. 

Veresayev, V. (cited), 311-320, 

Vigilance, intensified, 76; depart- 
ment, 77; extraordinary, 368, 


Village-community (see also Peas- 
ants), 30, 31, 32, 34-35; im- 
pending agriculture, 31, 32. 

Village, Russian (see also Peas- 
ants), general view of, 25, 26; 
differentiation in, 35, 36; 
mounted constabulary in, 91, 92; 
gloomy mood of^ in 1901, 92. 

Vyborg manifesto, 179. 

War, defeats in Russo-Japanese, 
94» 95i 96; weakness of bureau- 
cracy shown by Russo-Japanese, 
95, 96 ; of the world, 384-385, 386 ; 
treason in, 388, 389, 395, 396, 
397; starvation, 392; no food 
plan in, 392, 393. 

Witte, Sergius, attitude towards 
absolutism in i<Spp, 56-57; op- 
posing Zemstvo, 80; memoran- 
dum on urgency of Constitution, 
137* '38; parleying with Work- 
men's Council, 148 ; defending 
Nekludov, 214. 

Working class (see Labor). 

Workingmen (see also Labor and 
Council of Workmen), number 
of, in industry, 11; new types 
of, 12; wages of, in igoo-igoiy 
12; legal position of, 12, 13; at- 
titude of the employers towards, 
13, 14; standard of living of, 14; 
barracks for, 15; dwellings of, 
15, 16, 17; types of, in litera- 
ture, 273-306; situation after 
I907i 361, 362; represented in 
Military Industrial Committee, 
387; representatives in Military 
Committee arrested, 402 

Zemstvo, institutions, 50; jurisdic- 
tion, 50, 51; liberal spirit, 52; 
attitude of administration to- 
wards, 52; petitions, 53, 54; 
secret conventions, 54 ; " il- 
legal " magazine, 54; "third 
element," 55; representatives in 
commission on needs of agri- 
culture, 91 ; secret convention of 
(in 1902) y 91; November con- 
vention (1904) y 98, 99; petitions 
of (1904) y 100; petitions of 
{1905) t 121; conferences and 
conventions in 1905^ 121, 122; 
delegation to Tzar, 122; be- 
coming reactionary after Octo- 
ber upheaval, 154; National 
Union, 386, 387; convention of 
chairmen of, demanding respon- 
sible government, 395; National 
Union prosecuted, 398. 

Zotov, Nicholas, 339-340. 

Zubatov, Sergius, 21, 22. 



By Charles Downer Hazen, Professor of History, 
Columbia University. $125 net. 

By Charles Downer Hazen 

One of the most widely read books of non-fiction in 
recent years. With maps. $3.75 net. 


By Douglas W. Johnson, Assistant Professor of 
Physiography, Columbia University. With 20 maps and 
numerous half-tones. $1.75 net. 


By Moissaye J. Olgin 

Mr. Olgin has been, since 1900, in the very throes of 
the new Russia. Illustrated. $2.50 net, 



By James H. Tufts, Professor in the University of 

Not so much a consideration of the machinery of gov- 
ernment as a study of those principles and ideas the 
' machinery is meant to serve. $1.50 net. 


By Walter Lippman. Cloth, $1.35 net; paper, 60 
cents net. 


publishers new YORK 



2Hd Printing, $1.50 Net 

Theodore Roosevelt in The Outlook: 

"No man who wishes seriously to study our present 
social, industrial and political life can afford not to read 
it through and through and to ponder and digest it." 

William Marion Reedy in The St. Louis Mirror: 

"When *A Preface to Politics' was published, I ven- 
tured the opinion that it was the best book on politics since 
Walter Bagehot's 'Physics and Politics,' Now he has fol- 
lowed it with 'Drift and Mastery,' an even more brilliant 


3rd Printing, $1.50 Net 

The Boston Transcript: 

" *A Preface to Politics is its own complete and suffi- 
cient justification. In many respects it is the ablest brief 
book of its kind published during the last ten years. It 
has the supreme virtue of clearness aided by a style that 
is incisive and compelling." 


4t/i Printing, cloth, $1.35 Net-, paper, 60 cts. Net 

J. B. Kerfoot in Life: 

"It is a real joy to find it of the same order as *A 
Preface to Politics.' It deals with human nature involved 
in international human relations impersonally, yet brings 
significances personally home to us. A book that widens 
horizons and quickens consciousness." 


Publishers New York 



By Samuel P. Orth. With bibliography and "Programs" 
of the various Socialist parties. $1.60 net. 

Traces briefly the growth of the Socialist movement in 
France, Belgium, Germany, England, and attempts to determine 
the relation of economic and political Socialism to Democracy. 


By V. G. SiMKHOviTCH, Professor of Political Science, Col- 
umbia University. $1.60 net. 

A thorough and intimate account of all the intricate theories, 
problems and difficulties of modern Socialism. 

Professor Simkhovitch shows us that the economic tendencies 
of to-day are quite different from what Marx expected them to 
be and that Socialism from the standpoint of Marx's own 
theory is quite impossible. 


By Mary Roberts Coolidge. $1.50 net. 

"A fearless discussion of the modern woman, her inheritance, her 
present and her more promising future. The eighteenth and nineteenth 
century woman is keenly analyzed and compared with the highest type 
of woman to-day." — A. L, A. Booklist. 


By Dorothy Canfield Fisher. With Illustrations. $1.35 net. 

A simple untechnical account of the apparatus, the method 
of its application, and a clear statement of the principles un- 
derlying its use, 

"Mrs. Fisher's book is the best we have seen on the subject."— /«- 

THE SOCIALIST MOVEMENT (Home University Ubrary) 

By J. Ramsay Macdonald, Chairman of the British Labor 
Party. 60 cents net. 

Traces the development of Socialistic theory, practice, and 
party organization ; with a summary of the progress of Socialist 
parties to date in the leading nations. 

"Not only the latest authoritative exposition of Socialism, it is also 
lie most moderate, restrained and winning presentation of the subject 
now before the puolic" — San Francisco Argonaut, 




By I. M. RuBiNOW. Octavo. $3.50 net 

The only comprehensive work in English on its very 
important subject, which includes Employers* Liability, 
Sick Insurance, Old Age Pensions, Insurance Against 
Unemployment, etc., etc. 

"As a brief for State action, and as a guide to intelli- 
gent thinking, the book is most important." — Literary 

(By a Member) 

By Helen Marot, Executive Secretary Women's 
Trades Union League. $1.35 net. 

The American Labor Union from the inside. What 
it thinks and believes and says about itself. 

"One of the most important of recent books on the 
labor question. . . . The author has, on the whole, 
sensed the true inwardness of the labor movement." — 
Springfield Republican. 

Merle Thorpe^ Editor. $1.50 net, 

A symposium by such authorities as Oswald Garrison 
Villard, Melville E. Stone, Lieut. Gov. Barrett O'Hara 
of Illinois, Norman Hapgood, Dr. Lyman Abbott, Ham- 
ilton Holt, Percy S. Bullen, Geo. Fitch and many oth- 
ers, who discuss the latest developments in the methods 
and ethics of newspaper making, news gathering and 
handling, advertising, circulation, administration, and edi- 
torial direction. 

Publishers New York 


in*.^^? k"'®^^ ^^T ^°?^^' .^°* reprints. " Excellent books, on topics of real 
interest by men of world-wide reputation.— Zi/erary Digesi! 

of English History, Univer- 

American History 
the: colonial period 


By Charles McLean An- 
drews, Professor of American 
History, Yale. 
AMERICA (1763-1815) 
By Theodore C. Smith, Pro- 
fessor of American History, 
Williams College. 
COLN (1815-1860) 
By William MacDonald, Pro- 
fessor of History, Brown Uni- 
By Frederic L. Paxson, Pro- 
fessor of American History, 
University of Wisconsin. 
UNION (1865-1912) 
By Paul Leland Haworth, 

General History 


By William R. Shepherd, 
Professor of History, Colum- 

By Charles Tower. 


By H. A. L. Fisher, Vice- 
Chancellor of Sheffield Uni- 
versity, author of The Re- 
publican Tradition in Europe. 

By J. L. Myers, Professor of 
Ancient History, Oxford. 


By W. Warde Fowler, author 
of Social Life in Rome. 

By Grenville Cole. 


By H. W. C. Davis, Fellow at 
Balliol College, Oxford. 

By A. F. Pollard, Professor 

Cloth bound, good paper, clear type, 256 pages 
per_ volume, bibliographies, indices, also maps 
or illustrations where needed. Each complete 
and sold separately. 

sity of London. 

By Alice Stopford Green. 

By A. G. Bradley, author of 
Canada in the Twentieth Cen- 


By Edith Sichel, puthor of 
Catherine De Medici. 

By John B. Bury, Regius Pro- 
fessor of Modern History, 
Ca mbridge. 


By Hilaire Belloc. 
By G. H. Perris, author of 
Russia in Revolution^ etc. 
By G. P. GoocH. A "moving 
picture" of the times. 
By Rev. William Barry, D.D. 

By Dr. W. S. Bruce, Leader 
of the "Scotia" expedition. 
By Sir H. H. Johnston. 
By H. A. Giles, Professor of 
Chinese, Cambridge. 
By Sir T. W. Holderness. 

By Dr. Marion Newbigin. 

By John R. Spears, author of 
The History of Our Navy. 
THE OCEAN. A General 
Account of the Science 
of tlie Sea 
By Sir John Murray, 


net, per 





Admirably clear." — New York 


By W. E. BuRGHART DuBois, 
author of Souls of Black Folks, 
etc. A history of the black man 
in Africa, America or wherever 
else his presence has been or is 

By Aneurin Williams. Ex- 
plains the various types of co- 
partnership or profit-sharing, or 
both, and gives details of the 
arrangements now in force in 
many of the great industries. 

Froia Herbert Spencer 
to the Present Day 
By Ernest Barker, M.A., Ox- 

By A. C. PiGou, M.A., Professor 
of Political Economy at Cam- 
bridge. The meaning, measure- 
ment, distribution, and effects of 
unemployment, its relation to 
wages, trade fluctuations, and 
disputes, and some proposals of 
remedy or relief. 

By Prof. Paul Vinogradoff, 
D.C.L., LL.D. Social and Le^al 
Rules — Legal Rights and Duties 
— Facts and Acts in Law — Leg- 
islation — Custom—Judicial Pre- 
cedents — Equity — ^The Law of 

By S. J. Chapman, Professor of 
Political Economy and Dean of 
Faculty of Commerce and Ad- 
ministration, University of Man- 
chester. A clear statement of 
the theory of the subject for 
non-expert readers. 


* By J. A. HoBSON, author of 
Problems of Poverty. A study 
of the structure and working of 
the modern business world. 

PARLIAMENT. Its History, 

Constitution, and 


By Sir Courtenay P. Ilbert, 

Clerk of the House of Commons. 

*'Can be praised without reserve. 

Cloth bound, good paper, clear type, 256 pages 
per volume, bibliographies, indices, also maps 
or illustrations where needed. Each complete 
and sold separately. 

MENT ^, . 

By J. Ramsay Macdonald, Chair- 
man of the British Labor Party. 
"The latest authoritative exposi- 
tion of Socialism." — San tran' 
cisco Argonanit, 
By Prof. L. T. Hobhouse, au- 
thor of Democracy and Reaction. 
A masterly philosophical and his- 
torical review of the subject. 
By F. W. Hirst, Editor of the 
London Economist. Reveals to 
the non-financial mind the facts 
about investment, speculation, 
and the other terms which the 
title suggests. 
By D. H. MacGregor, Professor 
oi Political Economy, University 
of Leeds. An outline of the re- 
cent changes that have given us 
the present conditions of _ the 
working classes and the princi- 
ples involved. 
By W. M. Geldart, Vinerian. 
Professor of English Law, Ox- 
ford. A simple statement of the 
basic principles of the English 
legal system on which that of 
the United States is based. 
THE SCHOOL: An Introduc- 
tion to the Study of 
By J. J. FiNDLAY, Professor of 
Education, Manchester. Pre- 
sents the history, the psycholog- 
ical basis, and the theory of the 
school with a rare power of sum- 
mary and suggestion. 
By Mrs. J. R. Green. A bril- 
liant account of the genius and 
mission of the Irish people. "An 
entrancing work, and I would 
advise every one with a drop of 
Irish blood in his veins or a 
vein of Irish sympathy in his 
heart to read it,** — New York 
Times* Review. 



net, pel 

Publishers New York 


ographies of men of all countries who have had 
ifinite influence on thought and action in the 
iteenth Century. 

Edited by BASIL WILLIAMS. Octavo. 
With frontispiece. Each, $2.00 net. 



'he most complete interpretation of Lincoln as yet pro- 
i, and presented in such artistic form that it may well 
ne classic." — American Historical Review. 



Larely, if ever, has the man and his work been set forth 
>mplefely and so lucidly. To obtain a clear idea of the 
cerian philosophy is not difficult for the reader who 
ivs Mr. Elliot. A notable contribution to the history 
nglish philosophy." — Boston Transcript. 



L volume of singular charm and of unrivaled value as 
uthentic history of Diaz and the Mexico of his day." 
w York Tribune. 



Extremely well and sometimes brilliantly written. A 
:le of compression and interest, it provides an indis- 
ible appendix to Moneypenny's Disraeli and Morley's 
stone." — London Daily News, 






isHERs New York 


Edited by 

William English Walling, Jessie Wallace Hughan, 

J. G. Phelps Stokes, Harry W. Laidler, and 

other members of a committee of the 

Intercollegiate Socialist Society 

630 pag:es, i2mo, $i.75 net 

This volume is the first comprehensive source book 
on the International Socialist movement ever pub- 
lished. It consists chiefly of original documents — 
speeches, prog^rams, platforms, articles by noted So- 
cialists and Socialist org^anizations all over the world. 

" The publication of this book marks a distinct advance in 
the scientific discussion of the Socialist movement." — Review 
of Reviews 

' ' The present work aims to present in a rigidly impartial 
way a documentary description of the Socialist movement. No 
such comprehensive source book has yet appeared. Invaluable 
as a work of reference, it removes any excuse for ignorance of 
what organized Socialism stands for." — Professor R. C. 
McCrea, in the Annals of the American Academy, 

" As a compact, inclusive summary of the significant litera- 
ture of the subject, there is nothing equal to it in English." — 
Christian Science Monitor. 

** 'The SociaHsm of To-day' is an encyclopedia. It should 
be in every Socialist library. Our writers, speakers and young 
Socialists ought to use it constantly. Let us begin to know." 
—Dr. William E. Bohn, in International Socialist Review.